High-tech test

The University of Manchester and Rolls-Royce have unveiled a new £1 million experimental facility, which will boost the development of high-tech electrical systems.


The University of Manchester and Rolls-Royce have unveiled a new £1 million experimental facility, which will boost the development of high-tech electrical systems for planes, ships and energy generation.


It will complement the existing Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) and will develop and evaluate ultra-compact and intelligent electrical networks for use in a range of products including Uninhabited Autonomous Vehicles (UAVs).


Housed in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE), the facility is being jointly funded by Rolls-Royce and the Systems Engineering Autonomous Systems Defence Technology Centre (SEAS-DTC) programme co-ordinated by BAE Systems and sponsored by The Ministry of Defence.


Police and fire services are becoming increasingly interested in uninhabited air vehicles for surveillance purposes. They could save the emergency services valuable time and money and also allow access to situations too dangerous for manned craft.
 
Rolls-Royce established the University Technology Centre (UTC) in Manchester in 2004 to pursue research into innovative electrical technologies for aerospace, marine and energy applications. It is part of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering’s Power Conversion Group.
Research is focused on designing electrical systems which are lighter, more flexible and reliable than the heavy pneumatic and mechanical systems used on ships and planes today.


The UTC specialises in the design of electrical systems for air, sea and land vehicles which operate in ‘extreme environments’ like those experienced by planes at altitudes of 60,000ft and by ships submerged in freezing waters.


The Manchester UTC works in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, and two other electrical UTCs at the Universities of Sheffield and Strathclyde.


It is based just one mile from where Charles Rolls and Henry Royce forged their original partnership at Manchester’s Midland Hotel in 1904.