At the end of each month on our website we’ll feature a roundup of the news that’s grabbed our attention from across our industry. We might not cover all of our sectors every month, but watch this space!
Ricardo and Volvo to work together on battery testing
UK engineering firm Ricardo is set to help Volvo Cars develop a testing programme to determine the suitability of lithium-ion cells for future electric vehicle use. Ricardo Director Martin Tolliday says the company has “the hands-on experience and expert capability to support and advise our customers from the concept design phase through to production sign-off, and from identifying application appropriate cells and developing control systems to the design and manufacture of the pack.”
Smart city driving with GLOSA technology
JLR is trialling Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory (GLOSA) technology on its F-Pace model, as part of the £20m government-funded UK Autodrive project. The technology will help to reduce emissions and make city roads safer by receiving data from traffic lights and working out a safe speed for a vehicle to maintain to approach the lights while they are still green, thus reducing incidents where drivers race to “beat the lights”. It is hoped that GLOSA will work with other driver assistance technologies to manage how connected vehicles interact at junctions, respond to emergency vehicles and utilise smart parking in congested cities. The overall vision for projects like this is of vehicles communicating with wider city infrastructure resulting in calmer traffic, less congestion, reduced emissions and improved safety – part of the transport infrastructure of the modern smart city.
Renault on the charge?
Renault Sport F1 has ambitions to close the gap on gap on rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. The team will replace Renault Sport President Jerome Stoll with Thierry Koskas, who takes up his position as head of the F1 programme on 1st January 2019. The Renault team has ambitions to contest the title by 2021. We’ll be watching!
Manufacturing and technologies
Bowman Power Group spearheads drive to reduce shipping industry emissions
A UK consortium led by Bowman Power Group has developed an Electric turbo compounding solution that could reduce ship emissions by nearly 8%. The shipping industry accounts for approximately two per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, a figure that could rise by 2050 - but the International Maritime Organisation has reached an agreement to cut emissions from the sector by at least half by this date.
The solution is based on electric compounding technology developed by Southampton-based Bowman Power Group. It features a turbine that sits in the exhaust of an engine, absorbing energy from the exhaust flow, capturing wasted energy before it is lost and turning it into electricity, thus reducing wasted energy. The resulting engine could significantly improve the energy efficiency of a range of marine vessels, and Bowman has already held discussions with major marine OEMs and a ferry operator to commercialise the technology. The £1.5m project was partly funded by Innovate UK and included Rolls-Royce Power Systems, Lloyds Register and University College London, each of whom contributed expertise vital to the success of the project rollout.
Waymo’s self-driving taxi service to go live…imminently!
Waymo, a subsidiary of (Google-owning) Alphabet, is likely to beat more familiar rivals Lyft and Uber to be the first company to launch self-driving taxis. It looks set to accept paying passengers in Phoenix, Arizona, in December. Waymo has been working on self-drive technology for nearly a decade, and has completed over 10 million miles of autonomous driving tests while simulating a further 5 billion. Uber has stated it intends to launch self-driving taxis in 2019, with Lyft having carried out pilot trials in the U.S.
Tesla, Volkswagen, Volvo and Addison Lee are also known to have interests in the market, with Addison Lee declaring its plans to roll out self-driving taxis in London by 2021, in partnership with Oxbotica, the driverless software firm.
IET Young Woman Engineer of the year: STEM role models for female students.
One inspiring story that caught our eye this month was of IMechE member Lorna Bennet, who has been nominated as a finalist for the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year award. Having grown up helping her dad with DIY around the house, Lorna first learned about product design engineering at an open day at the Glasgow School of Art. She attended a Headstart course with the Royal Academy of Engineering before moving on to university. She now works as a mechanical engineer with The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and is a STEM ambassador, running the STEM engagement and intern programme at her employer’s Glasgow office. She is a passionate advocate of women in engineering and is herself a role model for young women in education who want to enter the STEM field. Lorna has a telling story about her experience getting into engineering at school: “My careers advisor didn’t really know what engineering was, and it took a lot of effort from me to get them to understand my decision and write my UCAS reference,” she says.
Executives & Leaders
Leaders united about importance of digitisation, says Gartner
Research by Gartner, Inc has revealed that 67% of business leaders agree their companies must become more digitised by 2020 to remain competitive. The leaders look to their HR departments to deliver digital transformation which, they hope, will reduce costs and increase productivity. According to Gartner, this transformation will manifest in several different strategies: attracting digital candidates; providing better employee insight; improving managers’ ability to develop their teams’ digital capabilities; using technology to drive employee self-service at work, and evolving performance management. HR leaders must deal with this CEO demand whilst simultaneously meeting employee demands that technology does more to improve their experience of work.