Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Feds invest $11 million in R&D projects with auto industry


February 26, 2013
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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The federal government has announced more than $11 million in funding for new research and development projects that the automotive industry has identified as priorities.

Funded by the Automotive Partnership Canada initiative, these projects are aiming to reduce harmful vehicle emissions, improve the efficiency of electric and hybrid vehicles, and protect Canadian drivers by upgrading vehicle safety.

“Our Government is investing in automotive research and development to help usher in greener, better-performing vehicles. Our support also creates jobs and strengthens the economy,” said Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “Automotive Partnership Canada does this by enhancing research capacity, driving innovation, and increasing the competitiveness of our industries.”

The university-industry partnerships will receive more than $21.4 million in total project support. This includes over $11 million in funding through the Automotive Partnership Canada initiative, and more than $10.4 million from industry and other partners.

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The University of Waterloo is receiving $1.1 million to develop high-strength steels tailored for individual car components, such as fenders and door frames. These tailored components will have high strength regions that prevent them from intruding into the vehicle in the case of a crash. Of the total amount, the Government of Canada is contributing $605,000, with the remaining support provided by Honda R&D Americas, Magna, ArcelorMittal Dofasco and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

“Canada’s automotive sector attracts some of the most talented researchers because it offers opportunities for innovations that can have a great impact on the lives of Canadians,” said Dr. Suzanne Fortier, president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). “These most recently announced projects are helping to keep Canada on the leading edge of automotive advancements in safety, efficiency and manufacturing.”

Announced in April 2009, Automotive Partnership Canada is a five-year, $145-million initiative that supports collaborative R&D and pushes the Canadian automotive industry to greater levels of innovation. As an industry-driven initiative, automotive companies play a key role by providing both financial support and essential in-kind contributions to ensure the research projects’ success.

Other previously funded Automotive Partnership Canada research focused on the development of a battery pack thermal management system for hybrid electric vehicles, more efficient systems for lightweight wheel production, enhanced performance catalytic converters, improved fuel cell technology and improved automotive manufacturing workplace design and ergonomics.