Engineering news

In case you missed it - 17 February 2017

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Our weekly round up of engineering stories you may have missed.

Bosch invests in 3D lidar technology firm

Robert Bosch Venture Capital, the corporate venture capital company of the Bosch group, has completed an investment in TetraVue.

Robert Bosch Venture Capital says the investment will help enhance the capabilities of automated vehicles and adds to its growing portfolio of companies in the field of sensors and software for automated vehicles.

Britain’s defence spending dips below Nato target

Britain's defence spending fell below the Nato military alliance's target of 2% of gross domestic product last year, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The government has disputed the figures, saying Nato's own data showed it had spent 2.21% of GDP on defence in 2016. It said the IISS presented its spending figures in US dollars, and so had been impacted by fluctuations in exchange rates.

Ford bolsters AI know-how with investment

Ford Motor Company is to invest $1 billion into Argo AI, a startup company launched by former Google and Uber engineers, over the next five years.

Ford plans to develop a software platform for autonomous vehicles along with the Michigan-based startup company. The platform is scheduled to be ready by 2021.

Wood Group choses president of European asset life cycle business

Wood Group has appointed Alan Johnstone as president of its asset life cycle solutions business in Europe.

Johnstone joins from Amec Foster Wheeler where he was managing director for upstream asset solutions. Johnstone brings almost three decades of North Sea, Southern North Sea and Caspian oil & gas experience.

Dyson’s R&D centre opens in Singapore

British technology company Dyson has opened its new research and development centre in Singapore.

The facility houses the firm's latest development labs focusing on advanced manufacturing, software development and robotics.

Dyson is also establishing its advanced manufacturing team here to implement industrial Internet of Things technologies both in its production facilities in Singapore and the region.

Mott MacDonald buys engineering and design consultancy

Mott MacDonald has acquired engineering and design consultancy Wideurope Engineering for an undisclosed sum.

Wideurope Engineering, which was established in 2002, operates primarily in the energy sector providing technical support and professional services in civil, structural and electro-mechanical design.

Ineos moves into car manufacturing

Chemical company Ineos is to build a 4x4 off-roader following a six-month feasibility study. The company is expecting to spend many hundreds of millions on the project and is determined that the vehicle will not only fill a gap in the market vacated by the Defender, but also provide a step change improvement in build quality and reliability.

Ineos is currently looking at manufacturing locations, it will consider UK sites alongside other European options.

The project is to be run by Dirk Heilmann, formerly head of engineering and technology at the company. Heilmann, now chief executive off Ineos Automotive, has started recruiting a team of automotive experts.

Tata Steel staff back pensions plan

Tata Steel staff have voted in favour of changes to their pension scheme that will mean less generous retirement payouts, but guarantee jobs and secure investment in the business.

Unions balloted members working at Tata over proposals that would move them from a final-salary scheme to a defined-contribution system. In return, the company pledged no compulsory redundancies, £1 billion of investment over 10 years, and a commitment to keep open two blast furnaces at its Port Talbot site into the next decade.

Dawson joins Boeing at AMRC

Stuart Dawson has joined the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing as its chief technology officer. Dawson has spent the past six years at the Nuclear AMRC in the same role.

Dawson spent a total of 18 years in the aerospace industry, during which time he lead productivity improvement and cost reduction programmes across a variety of UK aerospace firms such as Kyocera Unimerco.

MPs call for tidal lagoon response

A letter calling on the government to back the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon has been signed by more than 100 MPs.

The letter, sent to Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark, urges the government to respond to the recommendations of the Hendry Review, which supported the principle of the Swansea lagoon.

Leeds university selects chair in high speed rail engineering

Professor Peter Woodward has been announced as chair of high speed rail engineering at the University of Leeds.

Woodward, who is currently an industry sponsored professor of high speed Rail at Heriot-Watt University, will be responsible for developing a new Institute for High Speed Rail Engineering at the University, using his expertise in geotechnical engineering to create a world-leading research and innovation hub with an emphasis on train-track interaction and infrastructure systems.

Drax earnings fall on weak commodity prices

Energy company Drax has reported a 17% fall in earnings following a year of weak commodity prices compounded by the removal of its exemption from green taxes in 2015.

The company, which operates coal and biomass power plants across the UK, posted full-year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of £140 million, down from £169 million in 2015. 

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