Dr. John McPhee and a Toyota RAV4 EV.

NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) recently honored the University of Waterloo (U Waterloo), Maplesoft and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) with a Synergy Award for Innovation.

According to Team Chair Dr. John McPhee, “With Toyota and MapleSoft we’re developing new modeling tools to support the design and the control of automotive systems. So the ultimate goal of this research is to allow an engineer to reduce the development cost of a new product and to bring that product to market faster.”

Dr. McPhee is an expert in dynamic physical system simulation, modeling and optimization. Under his leadership, the team produced a model-based controller to increase the comfort and safety of the vehicle while reducing emissions and fuel consumption. The program was later developed as the core technology to produce Maplesoft’s MapleSim software.

Dr. John McPhee and his team.

“I showed them how their tools combined with my modeling theories could actually be quite useful to an engineer, particularly in the automotive industry,” says Dr. McPhee. “With that we started a partnership in 2000 and the end result of that 4 year program were modeling tools that MapleSoft then commercialized in a package called MapleSim.”

U Waterloo and MapleSoft have a long history together. The company was created around symbolic computing technology developed within the university, over 25 years ago. Their teamwork, even before Toyota, has led the company to become a supplier of advanced CAE analysis around the world.

TMMC and the Toyota Technical Center have brought technical knowledge to the team too allowing for improved quality, cheaper experiments and reduced design cycles. With MapleSim, Toyota has been able to reduce the warranty claims for their alignments systems by 50%.

U Waterloo is famous for their commitment to technological entrepreneurship. As a result, MapleSoft isn’t the only company to come out of the university; other notable Waterloo-based companies include Blackberry and OpenText.

Source, images and video courtesy of NSERC


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