A major new research centre has been launched in a bid to transform Australia's automotive industry by developing new lightweight materials and manufacturing technologies.

The research will also make cars more fuel-efficient and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The ARC Training Centre in Lightweight Automotive Structures (ATLAS) was launched at RMIT University by senator James Paterson.

ATLAS is led by RMIT University in close partnership with Deakin University and the Australian National University, lead partner the Ford Motor Company, CSIRO and 11 additional local and international partner organisations including those from the USA, Germany and England.

The research will aim to accelerate the transformation of Australia’s automotive industry by commercialising new products and processes.

RMIT deputy vice-chancellor research and innovation and VP professor Calum Drummond said new lightweight materials and advanced manufacturing processes would help industry to innovate and create jobs.

“This opens the door to exporting new lightweight automotive product designs, high-value lightweight components, and engineering services to the global automotive market segments.

“It’s a perfect fit with RMIT’s aim to deliver research with impact that can contribute to a more vibrant and sustainable economy.”

ARC CEO professor Sue Thomas said the Training Centre will develop new lightweight technologies, manufacturing processes and energy storage designs that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions in transportation.

“Working with industry partnering organisations, the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Lightweight Automotive Structures will accelerate the transformation of Australia’s automotive industry through new research capabilities and commercialisation of new processes and products.

“This new research Training Centre brings together world-leading scientists and industrial engineers from 16 organisations from Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and will provide an outstanding collaborative network to mentor, train and develop Australia’s next generation of researchers in an industry-focused research training environment.”

Ford Programs director Asia Pacific Dave French said the company looked forward to the partnership and seeing the results it produced.

"We look forward to jointly positioning Ford and this Australian ingenuity right at the leading edge of future Automotive R&D.”

ATLAS will take on 13 PhD candidates and five postdoctoral research fellows.


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