SYDNEY, Australia - Ford will expand its collaboration with Australian universities as part of a commitment to developing a world-class system of external alliances, programs and practices in Australia and Asia.
It has appointed senior Ford Technical Engineer, Richard Taube, as Ford Australia’s Manager for University Programs.
Ford’s vision is to expand its research presence in Australia and to grow alliances with the most relevant and technically capable universities.
Ford Group Vice President and President of Asia Pacific, David Schoch, said the university system in Australia was world-class. “It is industrially relevant and we also believe such collaborations are a way for Ford to give back to our Australian community while also ensuring we develop world-class technologies that can benefit all Ford customers,” he said.
Ford’s US-based Chief Technical Officer and Vice President, Ford Research and Innovation, Paul Mascarenas, has championed the university collaboration program in Australia.
Mascarenas, who leads Ford’s worldwide research organisation and overseas the development and implementation of the company’s technology strategy, said such collaborations were an important plank in supporting young talent coming through the tertiary education system.
“The announcement of a dedicated University Programs Manager will not only allow us to build on existing partnerships, but enable us to develop new partnerships,” he said. “Through these collaborations we will continue to be able to provide efficient and technologically advanced vehicles to millions of customers around the world.”
Ford already has an established history of working with Australian universities, including the University of Melbourne, Deakin University and The Australian National University in Canberra.
Five major Ford-funded university research projects are already in progress and the company plans to increase this further in an effort to drive new vehicle efficiencies and deliver state-of-the-art technologies that will benefit customers.
Ford is currently working with universities on programs involving powertrain research and impacts on greenhouse gases as well as investigating the application of lightweight materials and advanced safety technologies in vehicles.
Taube said the Australian universities program was a great opportunity for both talented young students and manufacturing in Australia.
“Australia already has a strong focus on industry relevant Research and Development as part of auto manufacturing,” he said. “These university programs will also assist Australia in focusing on education opportunities that link in with research and development,” Taube said.
Taube said Ford in Australia was in a position to develop both local and global collaborative opportunities and identify relevant technical areas in which Australian universities are world class.
“Importantly, Australian universities are experienced in working with large corporations like Ford,” he said. “We have some strong pre-existing relationships with many institutions and a great sense of collaboration.”
As part of Taube’s brief, he will work with similar colleagues around the globe to identify opportunities.
Global universities with existing relationships with Ford are:
· University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Michigan, United States
· Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
· Stanford University, United States
· Northwestern University, United States
· RWTH, Aachen University, Germany
· Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
· Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China
· Chongqing University, China
· University of Science and Technology, Beijing, China
· Beijing Institute of Technology, China
· Tsinghua University, China
· Nottingham University, UK
· Loughborough University, UK
Ford Australia is a technological leader in Australia with an advanced Design Centre and Product Development facilities, which includes an 80 hectare proving ground at the You Yangs, at Lara near Geelong.
The company has had an alliance with the University of Melbourne through its Advanced Centre for Automotive Research and Testing (ACART) at the You Yangs Proving Ground since 2006. ACART has facilities at both the Proving Ground and the University of Melbourne, Parkville Campus. ACART provides the local automotive and transport industries with state-of-the-art infrastructure and highly skilled personnel for automotive research and testing.
The Design Centre and Ford’s Australian product development team were responsible for the Ranger pickup, a global Ford vehicle that is now sold in more than 180 countries, as well as the Ford Figo hatch sold in India.
Ford in Australia is also a regional centre of excellence for design and engineering and continues to work with regional product teams in India and China as well as throughout Ford’s global operations.
Australian customers will also continue to benefit from Ford’s local design and engineering expertise, Schoch said. “We have great designers and engineers whose Australian ingenuity and a can-do attitude that continues to shine on the global stage,” he said.
Ford is currently the largest Australian auto company investor in research and development. Last year saw Ford’s investment reach $270 million, which brings the company’s total R&D investment in Australia during the past six years to more than $1.9 billion.
Ford’s R & D investment is continuing.
The company has spent $2.5 million on a new test cell that will allow vehicles to meet stricter emission requirements. A new $1.4 million Noise, Vibration and Harshness test road is also being built at the proving ground, while other roads in the facility will receive a $1.5 million refurbish. More than $300,000 is being spent on new equipment to develop and test driver assistance technology.
This ongoing investment is assisting Ford to not only develop world-class vehicles, but ensure Australia remains an innovative global automotive technology leader.