A $13 million research centre for next generation vehicles will be built at Deakin University, allowing students, researchers and industry to work on driver and driverless cars.

The Next Generation Simulator project at Waurn Ponds, Geelong, will enable cost-effective prototype testing, engineering and commercial product design of next generation vehicles. 

The facility will also house the European-built S3 Motion Simulator Platform for expert drivers to test products in a virtual environment, and partnerships with Ford Australia and Ansible Motion aim to ensure locally-made vehicle products are commercially viable and internationally competitive.

University and TAFE students will receive training in using motion technology platforms, and research on driver-based and driverless vehicles, creating a pipeline of local workers for the advanced manufacturing industry.

Victoria Minister for Higher Education, Gayle Tierney, said, “The Next Generation Simulator will enhance our existing skills and knowledge in vehicle manufacturing to drive innovation and create world-first products.”

The project is expected to create 15 jobs by 2025, and four PhD positions and two internships each year.

Construction is expected to begin in November and be completed early next year, with a builder to be appointed soon.

The Victorian Government has contributed $5 million to the project in a joint effort with Deakin University and its partners, as one of many pitches from universities to the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund, which was developed in response to the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sector.

Deakin University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Iain Martin, said, “The government’s investment will help Deakin provide compelling virtual worlds where students and engineers can develop and test cost-effective products with real-world application.

“As a bespoke training platform, the Next Generation Motion Simulator Platform will enhance Australia’s sovereign capability in mobility technologies and create new jobs for regional Victoria.”

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