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Virtual automotive hub slashes testing time: UK SMEs and academics can now access vehicle testing equipment and simulation in real time thanks to a virtual network created by the Advanced Propulsion Centre and its Spoke community.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre's (APC) Spoke community has launched what it claims is the world's first network of virtual testing facilities, allowing the automotive industry to significantly cut the R&D process of low-carbon technologies. This is expected to significantly cut costs, enabling innovative SMEs to thrive.

The ground-breaking Multi User Systems Testing Environment for Research programme, known as Muster, uses advanced hardware-in-the-loop technology to connect each of the six APC Spoke sites. This allows SMEs and academics across the UK to virtually access a full suite of vehicle testing equipment and simulate an entire powertrain in real time.

A [pounds sterling]3.5m project funded through APC working with industry, Muster removes the financial and logistical barriers often faced by SMEs developing new technologies. It gives smaller organisations access to the latest physical and virtual testing equipment, and allows them to test prototypes early in the development stage, saving time and cost. The open access system is also designed to give SMEs the edge and remain competitive, helping their innovations to reach the commercial stage.

"Our Spoke community brings together academia and industry to share best practice, expertise and facilities in the UK," says chief executive of APC, Ian Constance. "True to this ethos, Muster will provide open access to an infrastructure of six major test facilities throughout the UK, significantly reducing research and development time and costs, allowing SMEs to become more competitive and engage with academia, while providing the UK with unique facilities to attract further investment from research companies around the globe."

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APC's Spoke community consists of more than 490 industrial and academic organisations and is coordinated by six universities - Bath, Brighton, Loughborough, Newcastle, Nottingham and Warwick. Five of the Spokes are centres of excellence for an aspect of future powertrain development, including electrical energy storage, internal combustion engines, and systems, efficiency and power electronics.

While the Digital Engineering and Test Spoke, led by Loughborough, aims to bring the latest in digital modelling to half the time and cost of bringing these technologies to market, the combination of physical and virtual testing equipment that each Spoke makes available through Muster will be relevant to its specialism.

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Title Annotation:DESIGN & SIMULATED TEST: AUTOMOTIVE
Publication:Environmental Engineering
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 1, 2017
Words:364
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