“We learn from each other"
Mechanical engineering post graduate student Yerlan Akhmetov started working on his PhD thesis in collaboration with Volvo Group and Institut national des sciences appliquées (INSA) in Lyon. He says that the collaboration with Volvo has great value to his research, giving him insights into other aspects of the vehicle.
INSA is one of Volvo Group’s Preferred Research Partners. It is also one of Europe´s top ranked technology and science universities. In Yerlan’s research for his PhD, INSA provides the usual supervisor, but he also has a supervisor from Volvo Group in Lyon and one in Sweden.
A practical approach
“I am working on active safety solutions for heavy trucks, specifically combining braking, steering and so one. The idea is to build a cooperative system that can help the driver avoid accidents. Getting immediate input from the industry means a practical approach,” he says.
Herve Defay is the manager of the vehicle dynamics team in Lyon. He says that it is a mutually beneficial solution to work this closely to the university and the students.
“It would be difficult to share information like this without the Academic Partner Program. A stereotype is that the industrial world generally expects research results with short term applications to increase competitiveness. And on the opposite side is the research world
that explores all possible paths to reach a result, forgetting profitability issues. The Academic Partner Program forces both sides to have common goal by introducing some pure rigorous science in engineering areas and industrial pragmatism in research fields. This is a good way for us to give input to research labs based on customer needs, so that we can build better active safety systems in the future.”
A broader perspective
Herve says that a key point is finding complementary views on things. Not just looking within the company, but also getting a wider perspective and new insights. Yerlan agrees; the cooperation has made him look outside his own specific field.
“In order to improve the active safety I must grasp several different fields: vehicle dynamics, automation, mathematics and very often I have to deal with subjects outside my expertise. So, I learn a lot from working on a project like this, not the least from my supervisors.”
“The topic I am working on is very exhaustive. We are looking to make the different safety systems cooperate. So it is fitting we are also collaborating .”