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SETsquared University expertise connected to the Automotive Sector

University of Bath

The University of Bath has a strong track record in automotive research and our researchers have devised innovative solutions that address key challenges such as engine downsizing, more cost-effective electric motors, better simulation tools, improved fuel consumption, and lower vehicle emissions. Bath’s principal centres for collaborative automotive research with industry are:

IAAPS builds on 40 years of automotive propulsion research delivered by experts at Bath in collaboration with industry. In 2015, the APC awarded Bath Spoke status for TPS Systems Efficiency. Our ability to support the automotive industry will accelerate with the creation of IAAPS which opens in 2020. Our new research and innovation institute has been designed for the future, enabling deep insights into the complex nature of transitioning to ultra-low and zero emission vehicles. This will include more electrification propulsion as well as unique layouts and configurations for use in fully autonomous vehicles. IAAPS will house experimental research platforms that enable precise systems-level investigations to be conducted including whole vehicle assessments, specifically under real-world driving conditions. Through its open access model, academics, automotive industry partners and SMEs will work on transformational research with access to world-class infrastructure and people.

The Centre for Power Transmission and Motion Control has a reputation as a centre of excellence in fluid power, actuation, dynamics and control of electro-mechanical systems, as well as technologies related to automotive & aerospace engineering.

Advanced design & manufacturing Group specialises in tackling complex system-level engineering & manufacturing problems, equipped with tools for rapid development, simulation and virtual engineering for innovative high-value additive and hybrid manufacturing.

Materials & Structures Centre activities include smart composites, non-destructive testing & evaluation, modelling and characterisation.

University of Bristol

Research in the Faculty of Engineering is contributing to the advancement of safe and efficient transportation in several important ways. Key achievements in this challenge include driverless car trials, reducing vehicular emissions and space exploration. The Faculty also has major strategic partnerships with Rolls-Royce, AgustaWestland Helicopters, Airbus, GE Aviation, EdF Energy and Vestas. Research Groups of interest to the automotive industry are:

Are developing methods to lower the energy demands of transportation by developing light-weight vehicles.

Fluids and Aerodynamics
Use computational and experimental methods for improved engineering technologies.

Electrical Energy Management
Aim to make the journey from electrical generation to usage more effective.

Systems Centre
Develop engineering leaders who are creative, innovative and rigorous systems thinkers as well as reflective and independent learners.


The research covers both hardware and software aspects of robotics: sensing, perception, reasoning, cooperation, control and actuation. They work in partnership with the University of the West of England through the Bristol Robotics Lab.

Visual Information Laboratory

Create world-leading technology in computer vision, image and video communications, content analysis and distributed sensor systems.

Dynamics and Control

Develop novel analytical and numerical design methods, vibration suppression techniques and active control.

Cardiff University

Cardiff’s world-class research groups and partnerships with strategic industry partners support a broad range of the most challenging and exciting automotive issues.

Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence (EVCE) adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the impact of electrification on the future of mobility and the industry, bringing together staff from engineering, business, psychology, geography, transport studies, and beyond, delivering a unique breadth and depth of skills and experience.

EVCE is a core component of the Transport Futures Research Network, considering key transformative technologies such as vehicle autonomous control, user and traveller behaviours, and the modelling of transport systems.

Centre for Automotive Industry Research (CAIR) considers the broader business, strategic, social, environmental and economic impacts of global automobility, and is recognised worldwide by academics, policymakers and industry.

School of Engineering adopts a cross-cutting Sustainable Transport research theme, addressing a range of low-carbon transport modes (road, rail and air) alongside associated infrastructures, treating these as an integrated system with the goal of decarbonising the transport sector. It adopts a whole system approach to the supply system, future charging infrastructure (including both wired and on/off-road wireless charging and fuel cells), and associated vehicle technologies (EVs, AV, rail and electric & hybrid aircraft).

Centre for Integrated Renewable Energy Generation & Supply (CIREGS) enjoys international expertise in the generation and transmission of energy, including the development of the necessary infrastructure for charging of electric vehicles. Currently developing highly efficient, reliable and small-sized power electronics converters for Electric Vehicles.

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University of Exeter

Exeter Advanced Technologies (X-AT) boasts a multi-talented team dedicated to commercially oriented research in the core themes of advanced manufacturing and materials development that has a strong strategic fit with a wide variety of automotive technology challenges.

Established in 1997 as the Polymer Centre of the South West, X-AT provides a dedicated link between academia and industry. With expertise that includes:

  • Additive Manufacturing – High-Temperature Affordable Polymer Composites for Aerospace and automotive applications
  • Novel high performance polymeric composite materials for additive manufacturing of multi-functional components
  • Lightweight and cost-effective composite structural core from recyclate
  • Brake-Thru – A lightweight automotive brake rotor for the emerging LCV market

University of Southampton

Southampton has extensive research capabilities to meet automotive technology challenges; having over 240 research groups and leading expertise in aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, engine testing, novel combustion techniques, composite structure technology, hybrid energy systems, energy storage, vehicle to grid technologies, fuel cells and fuel efficiency, and automotive electronics.  The University is playing a key role in the electric vehicle revolution, and leading research into the next generation of battery technology as part of the Faraday Institution.

Research Group Highlights:

Engineering: Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics; Energy Technology; Engineering Materials; Human Factors; Mechatronics; National Centre for Advanced Tribology (nCATS); Transportation; and the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) bringing together expertise from Acoustics; Dynamics; and Signal Processing and Control.

Electronics and Computer Science: Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security; Electrical Power Engineering; Electronics and Electrical Engineering; Centre for IoT and Pervasive Systems; Smart Electronic Materials and Systems; IT Innovation Centre; Vision Learning and Control.

Chemistry: Computational Systems; Electrochemistry; Advanced Composite Materials Facility.

Optoelectronics Research Centre, within the Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics, leads research into photonics systems, circuits and sensors, metamaterials and fibre optic technology.

The University is also home to world-class facilities including; automotive and engines laboratories; wind tunnels; driving simulators; anechoic and reverberation chambers; high voltage laboratory; computational design, structural analysis, and combustion and sequestration modelling utilising high-performance supercomputers; nanofabrication facilities and a state-of-the-art cleanroom complex.

University of Surrey

The University of Surrey has a deep research base that can support a wide variety of automotive technology challenges.  The University has a dedicated Centre for Automotive Engineering(CAE) that provides technical research for:

  • Vehicle analysis for electric and hybrid powertrains
  • Vehicle dynamics simulation
  • Tyre dynamics simulation
  • Design and simulation of vehicle subsystems
  • Design of experimental test benches
  • Lightweight chassis design and vehicle aerodynamics

Surrey has world-leading autonomous vehicle fleet mapping systems and is aiming to further improve the performance of localisation systems for autonomous vehicles within its 5G Innovation Centre and the university maintains strong relationships with automotive OEMs and their supply chains with a number of Centres that support automotive technology challenges:

  • Centre for Environment and Sustainability
  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Department of Chemical and Process Engineering
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Advanced Technology Institute
  • Institute for Communication Systems

SETsquared is a partnership between

  • University of Bath
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Surrey