Australia’s automotive industry is going through major structural change with the imminent closure of car manufacturers. To take its place, Australia aims to move from the production of vehicles to the exporting of engineering services and innovative product solutions. Thanks to a new project, it may very well become a leader in lightweight car technology.
Funded with over $3 million from the Australian Research Council, the ARC Training Centre in Lightweight Automotive Structures (ATLAS) has just opened at RMIT. RMIT, Deakin University and ANU have partnered with the CSIRO, Ford Motor Company and 11 other organisations, connecting leading scientists and industrial engineers from around the world.
The purpose of ATLAS is to accelerate the “transformation of Australia’s automotive industry by commercialising new products and processes ” and export the components and services globally. The centre will focus on research and development to make cars lighter and more fuel efficient and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in transportation through developments such as energy storage designs and rapid non-destructive evaluation techniques.
Professor Calum Drummond, RMIT Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation commented that, “RMIT’s distinctive approach to connected education and research links creative ideas with technical knowledge and focuses on the challenges and opportunities emerging around the world.” He added that new lightweight materials and advanced manufacturing processes would allow the automotive industry to innovate and generate jobs, aligning with RMIT’s research goal of contributing to a more sustainable economy.
Ford’s Asia-Pacific Programs Director Dave French stated that, “We look forward to jointly positioning Ford and this Australian ingenuity right at the leading edge of future automotive R&D.” It will be fascinating to see how the project unfolds.
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