Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled its advanced research and development plans with details of a new £94m technology, innovation and education centre to open in 2016.
The National Automotive Innovation Campus (NAIC) in Warwick will be designed to create a large-scale collaborative research environment, bringing together academics, researchers and engineers from across JLR and its supply chains in one facility.
JLR is the lead partner in the project having invested £50m, along with additional funding from Tata Motors European Technical Centre, Warwick Manufacturing Group and the Government’s Higher Education Funding Council England.
Construction is scheduled to begin in September 2014 on the University of Warwick campus, with 1000 people set to work in a building featuring engineering workshops and laboratories, advanced powertrain facilities and design, visualisation and rapid prototyping technologies.
Dr. Wolfgang Epple, JLR’s director of research and technology, said investing in collaboration, innovation, research and education is vital if the automotive wants to compete with international competitors.
“Our future sales success, the success of our global business – and the UK economy – lies in the engineering and innovation that will take place in NAIC,” he said.
“Creating a new national focus for automotive research and consolidating Jaguar Land Rover’s growing research and advanced engineering operations in one centre offers us huge potential. With a critical mass of research capability we will put the UK at the very centre of the global automotive industry – with the NAIC at its hub.”
The Manufacturer is running the Inspiring Innovation in Manufacturing conference on October 16 in London. Speakers at the event include James Godman of AgustaWestland and Stephen Cousins of Axon Automotive.
For more information and to book visit www.themanufacturer.com/eventsite/innovation2013/
JLR also expects to more than double the size of its advanced research team to 500 by the time of the NAIC’s opening.
Antony Harper, head of research for JLR, said it will announce details of NAIC collaboration research projects in due course, encompassing multi-disciplinary challenges such as electrification, smart & connected cars and Human Machine Interface.
“These collaborative research programmes will harness the best of UK engineering innovation, and with the extra capability the NAIC gives us, you can expect the number and range of new, fresh innovative ideas that we patent, and then take to production in the future, will increase significantly,” he said.
Also announced was the creation of a dedicated engineering education facility, which will be used to develop the skills of school children and engineering students, who will have access to NAIC’s laboratories.
Dr Epple added that JLR hopes the new centre will play a key role in nurturing the next generation of engineers and technologists.
“Economic growth can only be sustained if we and our suppliers can find the right quality and quantity of skilled people. We need to ensure that we are inspiring people to consider engineering and encourage a passion for science, technology and maths from a young age,” he said.
“The NAIC will become a centre of training and skills to help ensure we have enough young people wanting to develop a career in engineering and manufacturing. NAIC will also play a key role in nurturing the next generation of engineers and technologists.”
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Jaguar Land Rover has proved itself to be a strong and stable business in spite of the economic downturn, with good sales results in both developing and developed markets.
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