BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Meggitt have each committed £1m over five years towards integrated vehicle health management (IVHM) research. It is offered as part of the new IVHM Centre for Excellence (CoE), which has been jointly launched by Cranfield University and Boeing.

The agreement signals a five-year commitment to the growing area of IVHM, which advances existing concepts of vehicle maintenance, repair and overhaul, offering a total health check for vehicles such as aircraft, ships and high-speed trains.

IVHM works through a network of sensors that are distributed on the vehicle and collect data on the condition of the components and subsystems. On-board processors assess the vehicle’s health, predict its future life and any possible deterioration. Results can be used to reduce operating costs, increase competitiveness and allow companies to assess the effectiveness of its fleets.

The facility will benefit from a £3m investment from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

Cranfield University’s vice-chancellor Professor Sir John O’Reilly said: ‘This multi-sector initiative, embracing aerospace, automotive, rail, marine and energy will, I am confident, stimulate others to see the long-term benefits of IVHM. We welcome further interest and collaboration.’

He added: ‘We expect that this exciting new area of research will have a major impact on the future of service provision to support complex vehicle platforms, delivering significant cost benefits in the short term and the potential for new business models in the longer term.’