The University of Waterloo, Maplesoft, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada are the recipients of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Synergy Award for Innovation, which recognizes their success in collaborating on the model-based design and control of automotive systems that improve vehicle safety and comfort while reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
The award, for $200,000, was presented to John McPhee, a Waterloo systems design engineering professor and industrial research chair in mathematics-based modelling and design at the University of Waterloo during a special ceremony held at Rideau Hall on February 3. McPhee, standing second from left beside the Governor General of Canada, is one of the country’s leading experts in vehicle design, modelling and simulation.
“I am honoured to be part of a partnership that has the power to achieve enormous impacts on Canada’s information technology and automotive manufacturing sectors, delivering new software and safer, more energy-efficient vehicles to Canadian consumers,” said McPhee.
MapleSim, a software platform developed by Maplesoft in collaboration with Professor McPhee and his research team, enables design engineers to accurately model and simulate the impact of individual components on overall performance. This advanced simulation capability shortens the design cycle and improves product quality – two essential outcomes for technology developers, component manufacturers and assemblers in the rapidly growing development of green vehicles.
Supplying application-side expertise as an end user, Toyota has provided technical support and experimental assistance throughout the collaboration. As a result, MapleSim is a more powerful software platform that Toyota now utilizes as part of the company’s advanced engineering design process.
Long and productive relationship
“The quality of the research collaboration between Professor McPhee, Maplesoft and Toyota and the resulting commercial impacts are unquestionably world-class,” said Pearl Sullivan, dean of Waterloo Engineering. “The outstanding training opportunities provided by this program and the prodigious level of scholarly output from this three-way partnership are clear indicators of research excellence.”
The University’s unique inventor-owned policy on intellectual property creates a commercialization pathway allowing McPhee, Toyota, and Maplesoft to work as an integrated unit.
“This long and productive relationship with Professor McPhee, strengthened by our collaborative partnership with Toyota, has given our company a significant competitive advantage in green vehicle development, arguably the most significant trend in the history of automotive technology.” said Jim Cooper, president and CEO of Maplesoft.
“The fresh insight gained through this integrated research has allowed us to set a global benchmark for this type of scientific approach,” said Ray Tanguay, chairman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. “Increased production of green vehicles such as the hybrid Lexus will minimize harmful emissions and fuel consumption resulting in environmental benefits to Canada.”
The NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation recognizes examples of collaboration that stand as a model of effective partnership between industry and colleges or universities. [news release]