A new Australian Government grant program is helping to build up the talent and technology that will deliver the next generation of automotive engineers.
The Australian Government’s new Automotive Engineering Graduate Program will provide 10 grants worth a total of $5 million to 107 PhD candidates from seven universities across the country.
Recipients are working on projects ranging from a Monash University study on more efficient and cost-effective powertrain systems for electric vehicles to a Deakin University examination of how to keep connected vehicles cyber-safe.
The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) claimed three of the grants — more than any other university.
Professor Reza Hoseinnezhad, RMIT’s Associate Dean (Mechanical and Automotive Engineering) told create that the most important factor in the university’s bids was its partnership with industry.
“We send out students to you to work on your design problems, development problems, and they spend time with you,” he said.
The outcome, he said, is a “win-win situation”.
RMIT’s projects received more than $780,000 in total funding.
The largest of these is a partnership with technology company Robert Bosch (Australia).
This project involves allowing drivers to use smartphones to enter and start their cars, and to enable vehicle sharing, security and safety, and comfort features.
“People will enormously benefit from future components that could be developed to be used in future model cars,” Hoseinnezhad said.
“Cars that would be connected to networks or cars that would be talking to each other would be receiving information from central nodes and … would have a lot of information that can help the drivers to make the best decision.”
Another project, a collaboration with simulation software company Forum 8 AU, examines the potential effects of autonomous vehicle technology — intended and unintended.
The third RMIT project, with partner Advanced Navigation concerns navigation systems for autonomous cars.
“Self-driving cars rely on a combination of a highly accurate and detailed map of the road,” said Hoseinnezhad.
“This project aims to harness optical fibre gyroscope technology but make it practical for low-cost mass manufacture.”
Hoseinnezhad said the grants will help build industry expertise.
“To give the advanced technology opportunity to grow, we need experts,” he explained.
“We need to train experts that are concentrated in those areas — areas of advanced technology for future generations of cars.”