NTDC puts transport design on track for post-grads

The UK’s transport design industry is set for a boost next month with the launch of the National Transport Design Centre (NTDC) at Coventry University.

The NTDC is expected to provide an environment in which businesses and designers can collaborate in the creation of designs 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 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 2017, will provide designers, technologists and engineers with a facility that aims to help fill a shortfall in creative skills that are 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 the sort of technology that will allow businesses, researchers and students to create and refine new solutions. These facilities include a 6m interactive power wall that allows users to explore detailed design and engineering concepts in virtual reality, and advanced clay-milling facilities to create physical models of vehicles.

The post-grad design facility will also offer a projection mapping system that can cast digital images onto 3D objects below; wearable devices for creating virtual, augmented and mixed reality environments; and precision CNC milling machines for scale model creation, plus 3D printing technologies.

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