Undergraduate Focus: University’s research produces cars of the future
How marvellous would it be to have a car that informs you about potential problems before they actually happen? How much more pleasurable would it be to have a car that could safely navigate you through heavy traffic, particularly after work?
How wonderful would it be to have complete control of the dashboard with a touch of your finger? Indeed all these things are interesting and nice to have, but are they possible in reality?
“Certainly,” says Associate Professor Dr Haider Abbas, Head of Electrical Systems and Applied Mathematics (ESAM) research division in the Faculty of Engineering, the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.
“In fact, cars should care for their owners. They not only transport us but protect us if we are slow to react to danger,” says Dr Haider.
“We believe in smart and active cars that not only drive us around and park themselves, but take action to protect us. All of us deserve cars that entertain us when we are on board and cars that are energy efficient,“ Dr Haider adds.
Recently, the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, a research-led university, and Bufori Motor Car Company, a luxury car manufacturer entered into an industrial research collaboration to design ‘active cars’.
According to Gerry Khouri, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Bufori, “Technology has always been a driving force at Bufori and our motivation is to stay at the forefront of innovation. Although we’re a relatively small company, we are able to come up with clever solutions and overcome all sorts of challenges.”
In line with this, a team of researchers from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, led by Dr Haider, started to research and incorporate possible modern intelligent techniques that allow a car to diagnose its various components for potential problems.
The researchers are working on an intelligent system that will predict when a part is likely to become faulty and report this to a central computer at the car company. Use of this technology would mean that regular car servicing would no longer be required.
Other areas being researched are integrating auto drive systems that make it possible for a car to self-drive and self-park, modernising dashboards with state-of-the-art touch panels and integrating them into the next generation of Bufori cars.
The collaboration also aims to investigate ways of recycling all forms of energy that are currently wasted by cars. They are devising ways of harvesting this wasted energy and using it to prolong the distance travelled per litre of fuel.
For more information, visit www.nottingham.edu.my