Automotive Innovation

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The simultaneous reduction of cost and carbon emissions presents a significant problem to the automotive industry that requires innovative solutions. Automotive innovation research at Deakin addresses these issues using multi-disciplinary researchers from the School of Engineering and the Institute for Technology Research and Innovation. The group works closely with Industry OEMs, suppliers and the CRC for Advanced Automotive Technology using the latest in design methodologies, numerical simulation tools, advanced materials and manufacturing processes, and powertrain technology and management. Specific research themes include:

Novel Concept Vehicle Design

Model T2: Deakin University's winning proposal to "create a Ford Model T for the 21st century" showcased a unique vehicle concept which was simple, practical, lightweight and innovatively sustainable. The Model T2 utilised cutting edge technologies in the areas of advanced materials to develop an ultra-light and safe body structure. An innovative compressed air powertrain further enhances its environmental sustainability.

Tomorrows Car: An ultra efficient new generation of cross-over (motorcycle/car) vehicle that is fun to ride, easy to park and cost effective. This 3-wheeler concept vehicle utilises a novel tilting control system.

Lightweight Automotive Structures

Design - tackling the problem of mass reduction by beginning at the vehicle level rather than at component or subsystem level is the primary research objective. Design, material and manufacturing decisions are assessed holistically and simultaneously to ensure weight, performance and cost are optimised.

Materials and manufacturing - researchers work closely with the Centre for Material and Fibre Innovation in the development of numerical simulation design techniques coupled with experimental research in the field of advanced metals, composites and manufacturing processes.

Vehicle Efficiency

Emissions reduction - researchers employ novel concepts to improve vehicle efficiency and reduce emissions. An example is OVER7TM, a waste heat recovery systems that can reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by over 7%.

Energy management - research focuses on the energy management of electric and hybrid electric vehicles, including battery/supercapacitor/fuel-cell management systems.

Key Contacts

A/Prof. Bernie Rolfe
Mr Frank Will
Dr. Tim De Souza
A/Prof Abbas Kouzani
Dr. Tim Hilditch

Facilities and capabilities

  • Vehicle Chassis Dynamometer
  • Erichsen forming facility (FLC)
  • Advanced flexible roll forming lines
  • Semi-industrial stamping wear tester
  • Full materials characterisation facilities (including state-of-the-art strain analysis equipment - AutoGrid)
  • Advanced Combustion simulation OTTO
  • Vehicle Dynamics Simulation VI-grade plus motorbike/Adams
  • General purpose numerical engineering codes (Abaqus, ANSYS, LS-Dyna)
  • Industrial analysis codes (AutoForm, DynaForm, COPRA)

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