Unique collaboration between academy and industry
Luleå University of Technology (LTU) is unique in the world in its way of collaborating with the vehicle testing industry. In addition to the fact that there are basic courses tailor made for automotive system technology engineers, the university cooperates with the industry in several concrete projects at the research level. LTU also carries out basic research into ice and the effects of cold. Among other things, this has led to collaboration with the Swedish Armed Forces for procedures and regulations concerning the ice crossings by heavy vehicles.
There has been a test centre at LTU wholly focused on the vehicle test industry since 2005 – the Centre for Automotive Systems Technologies and Testing, CASTT. Twelve different projects are in progress under its auspices with doctoral candidates and senior scientists. Examples are road scanning and automation in order to deploy driverless vehicles for clearing test tracks early in the season, and how to quickly and easily build wireless networks that are able to cover an entire lake for data transfer between vehicles and which are connected to the internet.
There are also direct collaborations with suppliers such as tyre manufacturers in projects regarding sound transfer from studded winter tyres.
“Operations have been in progress for some time and we have noted that cooperation between the academy and industry grows ever closer, which also creates successful projects,” says research scientist Mikael Nybacka, at the CASTT centre at LTU.
Since the 1970s a cluster of vehicle testing companies has grown up in the area around Arjeplog, Arvidsjaur and Älvsbyn which has not only attracted manufacturers from Europe, but also from around the world. LTU participates in many different ways, and apart from concrete projects also with measurement methodology and work processes. We are currently creating test procedures for electric cars as new car manufacturers want to come to Norrbotten for testing.
In a little wider perspective, cold climate technology research has taken place for over 20 years under the auspices of the LTU ColdTech programme.
Scientist Lennart Fransson is studying the effect of ice loads on fixed foundations for e.g. bridges and wind turbines at sea. Here LTU works together with both Swedish companies and several Norwegian parties from the offshore industry.
“We have created a new computer application for calculating ice loads. In its simplest form it can provide new dimensioning rules for structural designs and we have collaborated with the Swedish Armed Forces regarding new regulations for ice crossings. We have for example studied the possibility of reinforcing ice to achieve greater strength,” says Lennart Fransson.
And of course LTU works together with the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi regarding strength calculations.