Foresight - automotive applications

The Institute's technical divisions have assessed the foresight drivers within their sectors.

Technology Roadmapping

The overall objective of the Technology Roadmapping exercise was to develop a Road Map and supporting documentation that will provide the basis for identifying priority areas for research in technologies for road transport. Future calls for proposals and project selection under the Foresight Vehicle programmewill be guided by the Technology Road Map.

The Road Map now available on the Foresight Vehicle website is the culmination of almost 12 months consultation with the UK automotive industry, academe and other stakeholders, from both private and public sectors.


IOM3 ITPB Response


Business Drivers Issues Technology & Innovation Needs
Markets & Customers Globalisation of markets 

Reducing supplier numbers/common vehicle platforms and materials selection 
  New/ageing infrastructure Will effect certain design criteria
  Improved quality of life Environmental issues/emissions/town cars/energy in manufacture
  Competitive products/image/fashion/choice New finishes/colours/textures/ which type of car you drive/niche models/rapid turn around of models
  Safety Time to market Euro ENACP Zero prototyping / modelling/simulation/rapid prototyping/rapid tooling/ e-commerce/internet selection by customer
  Value Pricing/reduced production costs
  Light weighting Carbon composites/Ti alloys/specific new materials/lighter safer assemblies/surface engineering
Business practice and economics Productivity pressures Vehicle built to order via internet/e-commerce
  Cost reductions Common vehicle platforms and materials and component selection/reduced production costs Use of recyclate More use of surface engineering
  Corporate consolidations Will continue and will drive cost reduction demands (as noted above) Tiered supply chain
  Distributed manufacturing End of Life Vehicles Design for disassembly/materials selection for easier recycling
Education/ workforce Need for talented people Loss of skills Training is a major issue People/staff retention Knowledge loss to other sectors is the key issue Engineering salaries MUST be made more attractive
  De-emphasis on manufacturing Virtual manufacturing skills needed Encourage and reward innovation Revise upwards profile of Materials Engineering and of Surface Engineering
Information technology Growth of Internet Internet specified vehicle whole vehicle choice/trim/colour/engine-type all from home = reduced number of showrooms = mass customisation e-Business and e-Commerce = bidding on the supply side will encourage more Third World manufacture = cost reductions
  Simulation/modelling Strategic to cost reductions/time to market place
  Photonics Growth in optical fibre systems
Regulation and Standards Environment protection Emissions = acceptable levels driven down further, will continue to drive light weighting
  Product safety/safety certification Euro ENCAP Pedestrian impact Head impact Airbag technology Repairability, especially with Al structures and advanced composite structures ELVs energy impact Taxation Road network Pricing infrastructure
  Re-cycling New ELV regs = more fly tipping Design for disassembly/materials selection for easier recycling Recyclate useage/accepability Recyclate specifications
Environment/New Powertrain Emissions Replace internal combustion engine 42 volt systems Hybrids Fuel cell power Full electric vehicles



Views of the Automotive Applications Division Board (AADB)

The views and interests of the AADB cover a wide range of subjects that encompass the description of "automotive materials". In general, it is considered that no new materials need to be developed specifically for automotive applications. The emphasis should be on developing or improving methods of processing existing materials such that the forces that are driving the industry (improved fuel efficiency, light-weighting, safety and energy absorption, reduced pollution, improved manufacturing efficiency, concurrent engineering and reduced time to market, recycling and globalisation), can be addressed, more cost effectively, through material choice.

The topics of interest that need support for research are as follows:


Plastic Moulding

  • In-mould colour films/painting (no paint shop option)
  • Muliti-layer sandwich moulding (optimisation of surface and core properties)
  • Polymer/metal combination moulding (design, manufacture and service performance of multi-material components)
  • Low cost tooling for high pressure moulding processes (assist low volume production)


Metal Forming and Casting

  • Closed die thixoforming of Mg (subtle alloy development needed to widen process window)
  • Improve dimensional control of castings in general (net shape or near net shape requirement)
  • Thin-walled, high strength, steel castings (weight reduction)
  • Electro-magnetic forming of sheet aluminium (high velocity, overcomes difficult shapes, energy efficient)
  • Warm and cold forming (net shape or near net shape requirement)


Joining Technology

  • Aluminium floor pan and body structures
  • Multi material capability (to cover roster of new materials and technologies required to deliver low weight)



  • Thermoplastic structures and body skins
  • Design for disassembly, re-use and recycling


Race Car Technology Transfer (from F1)

  • Light weight, ultra stiff materials (process development and material optimisation to reduce costs)
  • Energy absorption (impact situation)
  • Low friction (engines)
  • Sensors (monitor operating conditions and control of systems)


Specific New Materials

  • Metal foams (weight reduction)
  • Polymer nano-composites (enhanced performance and engineered properties in an affordable form)
  • Sensors (increasingly the main controller of various automotive systems)


As an applications division, the interests of the AADB clearly acts upon, or has synergy with, several other Boards activities within the Institute's structure. A common approach, or direct collaboration, to progress related research ideas/themes should be a major goal for the respective Boards and the Institute as a whole. This has begun through the Electronic Materials Board, with Sensor Technology, but should spread across the whole spectrum of Divisions