A state-of-the-art facility operating within Coventry University's Centre for Future Transport and Cities.
The NTDC is designed to explore new areas of transport design research, find new ways to use existing equipment and creating new technologies. It functions in a cross-disciplinary way, bringing together designers, technologists, coders, artists, gamers, material specialists and fashion experts. It also supports and cultivates future generations of Transport Designers through Coventry University’s regular interaction across the schools’ network and their relationship with the Coventry Transport Museum. The 1800 m2 NTDC is equipped with advanced facilities and equipment, including:
• A 6m interactive power wall to explore detailed design and engineering concepts in virtual reality
• Advanced clay milling facilities to create models of vehicles
• Wearable devices for creating virtual, augmented and mixed reality environments
• Precision CNC milling machines for scale model creation
• 3D printing technologies and large bed graphics printers
The NTDC works with business in a several ways including secondments, internships, student’s projects, 3-6 months placements, funded knowledge transfer programme, funded collaborative research and direct consultancy. Industry engagement is across the various modalities (aero, auto, marine, rail) and through many options, such as:
• Applied research to support product development
• Access to staff expertise and student skills
• Subsidised training
• Access to funding
• Assistance with starting and growing businesses.
The NTDC brings together people with different kind of expertise. Human resources required for a stand-alone study are one researcher, one research assistant, one digital modelling expert.
Funding comes from Innovate UK, H2020, Research Council UK and direct funding from SMEs and larger companies.
Evidence of success
Examples of projects the NTDC was involved in were:
- AMEY project: the aim was to evaluate the impact of automatically deployed road signs on driving behaviour;
- WiCET project: £3.2m Innovate UK funded project involving a range of SMEs and large companies to deliver a Wireless charging of Electric Taxi demonstrator trial in Nottingham.
Each project has its own bespoke challenges and the aim is to transfer knowledge to companies from applied research.
Potential for learning or transfer
Programming skills to develop a dynamic and realistic simulation environment are sometimes necessary for bespoke studies and not easy to find.
SMEs also often struggle with access to equipment and facilities with a design studio as these require extensive capital costs to set up and run. Within the NTDC they have such facilities such as physical and digital modelling capabilities, 3D printing and design visualisation.
Therefore, a structure like this could help SMEs in accessing the right skills and facilities for their needs.
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