Boosting the economy with new National Transport Design Centre

10th April 2017
Anna Flockett

A postgraduate design facility is being launched by Coventry University which will contribute to the long-term competitiveness of the UK’s transport design industry. The National Transport Design Centre (NTDC) will provide a boost to the UK economy by providing an environment in which businesses and designers will co-operate to create design solutions that will shape the future of the automotive, rail, marine and aerospace sectors.

According to a government-backed report, titled The Value of Design in the UK Automotive Sector, there are currently only four universities in the UK, including Coventry, teaching transport design at an undergraduate or postgraduate level, despite significant growth in the country’s design economy.

The NTDC, which is due to open in May this year, will provide designers, technologists and engineers with a facility that aims to help fill a shortfall in creative skills that is essential to transport design.

David Wright, Director of strategic initiatives at Coventry University, said: “Our aim with the National Transport Design Centre is to meet demand for specialised skills, building on Coventry University’s existing expertise in transport design with a range of new courses and research programmes. Not only that, but we’ll be ensuring the centre is ‘open for business’ for companies in the wider transport sector – including automotive, rail, marine and aerospace – to work with us to help them grow.”

The NTDC will be fully equipped with technology that will allow businesses, researchers and students to create and refine new solutions. This technology includes:

  • A 6m interactive power wall which allows users to explore detailed design and engineering concepts in virtual reality
  • Advanced clay-milling facilities for creating physical models of vehicles
  • A projection mapping system which can cast digital images onto 3D objects below, helping designers to assess how multiple options would appear on full-scale models
  • Wearable devices for creating virtual, augmented and mixed reality environments
  • Precision CNC milling machines for scale model creation and a range of 3D printing technologies

In addition to providing access to the very latest technology and giving students the freedom to explore their creativity when it comes to developing new technology, Coventry University will also be able to provide access to experts from across the various disciplines to feed into the NTDC.

This approach will also support and cultivate future generations of transport designers through Coventry University’s regular interaction across the school’s network, and its relationship with organisations such as the Coventry Transport Museum. 

The centre was part-funded with a £7m contribution from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the government's Local Growth Deal.

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