The National Automotive Innovation Campus (NAIC) is designed to create a large-scale collaborative research environment. It will bring academics from the UK’s leading universities together with researchers and engineers from Jaguar Land Rover and its supply chain, in a single, multi-purpose, state-of-the-art research facility.
Jaguar Land Rover is the lead partner in the project, investing £50m, along with Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC), WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group ) and the UK Government’s Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE).
Construction of the nearly £100m NAIC is scheduled to begin in September 2014 at the University of Warwick. Around 1000 academics, researchers, technologists and engineers will work in the building, which will feature engineering workshops and laboratories, advanced powertrain facilities and the latest advanced design, visualisation and rapid prototyping technologies.
The development of the new facility, which will complement Jaguar Land Rover’s product creation centres in Gaydon and Whitley, will be co-ordinated by Dr Wolfgang Epple, Jaguar Land Rover’s Director of Research and Technology. He says: ‘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.’
Jaguar Land Rover expects that it will more than double the size of its advanced research team to 500 people by the time the NAIC opens. It’s likely to focus on technologies such as electrification, smart and connected cars and Human Machine Interface.
School children and engineering students will also be able to use NAIC’s laboratories and a dedicated engineering education facility. Dr Epple adds: ‘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.’