Aerospace tech deployed at weight-conscious JLR

Manufacturer explores the potential of latest weight-saving materials with new sensors

By Sam Sheehan / Thursday, October 22, 2020

JLR has signalled its commitment to future weight saving in its cars by announcing a long-running study into the next generation of lightweight materials, which are being so closely analysed that they’re requiring the use of aerospace sensor tech to evaluate their validity. The two-year project has apparently brought in engineers familiar with the most sensitive kit on the planet so the firm can “optimise the use of lightweight materials to improve efficiency and reduce emissions”. Which is helpful when you latest cars are required to carry an additional 200kg of battery cells.

The use of aerospace sensors is said to be pivotal in understanding how the new materialsrespond to corrosive environments and terrain from in all areas of the globe. That means everything from intense UV rays, acid rains and sub-zero temperatures, and everything else between. Samples of the new metals and composites JLR is most interested in (we’re not given any details but presumably funky-grade steel and magnesium and recycled polymers; i.e. some of the stuff the manufacturer has ignored to its detriment for the last decade) are being built into these aerospace-grade sensors and taken to some of the most extreme regions, including 400,000km worth of landscape across North America.

“This research project is a prime example of our commitment to developing lightweight, durable and robust materials for our future vehicles,” said Matt Walters, JLR’s lead engineer for metals and process materials. “Using advanced aerospace-grade technology, such as these sensors, is testament to the quality and standards we are achieving. We are working alongside world-class partners on this ground-breaking research project and will improve the correlation between real-world and accelerated testing as we continue to raise the bar for quality and durability.”

Plainly this stuff is a concern to every manufacturer, but also JLR specifically as it services a global demand for larger, heavier, often off-road-capable cars. Countering the weight gain of next generation of product, not to mention reducing their environmental impact, is obviously a top priority and JLR has highlighted the work it’s doing to achieve its self-set Destination Zero goals. These are intended to make JLR a leading force in an effort to achieve zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion, and has seen the company join the Gesamtverband der Aluminiumindustrie (GDA), a consortium of aluminium manufacturers and carmakers investing in more sustainable uses of the material.

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