The greatest change in automotive industry is ever greater care for the natural environment. An interview with Paweł Posuniak, Director of Industrial Research and Development Center (Centrum Badań i Rozwoju Technologii), Head of Laboratory Complex at Łukasiewicz Research Network – Automotive Industry Institute (Przemysłowy Instytut Motoryzacji – PIMOT)
Today, the pace of advancement in modern technologies in the automotive industry has taken on an unprecedented scale. In what direction is the motoring market heading? What trends will affect its shape in the years to come?
There are three fundamental trends dominating in the development of automotive industry and they are related to ecology, security and mobility on demand.
The greatest change in automotive industry is ever greater care for the natural environment. Despite the development of increasingly innovative engine constructions and considerable reduction in exhaust emissions, the present technology is unable to eliminate them completely. Hence, we observe extremely dynamic development of alternative propulsion. In practice, every manufacturer has on offer electric, hybrid cars, and even vehicles which make use of hydrogen. In addition, already now, many of them declare that in the nearest future they intend to withdraw from producing combustion engines.
Another important trend in automotive industry is increasing use of automation for security. Clearly noticeable is the progress in respect of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) which bring us closer to a fully automatic vehicles which, in the future, will travel without a driver. Already now, many vehicles make use of emergency braking systems, lane change assistant, or active cruise control. An interesting trend – in the purchasing context – is switching from a car ownership model to a use-oriented model. That does not apply only to businesses which, among other things, make use of leasing, but more and more often such a model is selected by individual users. Developing car sharing networks break through yet another barrier and increasingly often individual users – particularly in large agglomerations – resign from owning a car.
Which technologies, in your opinion, will have the largest impact on the advances in automotive industry?
First of all, technologies related to energy storage, i.e. more efficient batteries, and in consequence – development of modern materials, and also issues related to hydrogen production, storage and processes. Moreover, the development of autonomous systems which will entail evolution of computers, sensors and software, with emphasis on the issues of real time work and artificial intelligence. We are talking then about truly interdisciplinary development of multiple technologies.
What do you think the producers in automotive segment need in order to successfully develop new technologies?
First of all, the dynamically developing automotive segment needs a reliable research background. Therefore, Łukasiewicz – PIMOT are constantly developing their own research infrastructure and extending their competences in the field of research for development, and approval of compliance (homologation/certification) of new automotive technologies. Currently, we are focusing on the development of competences related to electromobility and autonomous cars, or ADAS – Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. We are running research and development projects related to these issues and we are investing in the equipment. A good example of following the market needs and trends associated with electromobility is the research infrastructure that we launched this year, used for testing complete vehicles, including electric cars (passenger cars, delivery vans and trucks, buses and military vehicles with optional extras) e.g. in respect of electromagnetic compatibility.
It is over two years already since the Industrial Automotive Institute became part of Łukasiewicz Research Network. In what way did joining Łukasiewicz affect the functioning of the Institute?
As part of Łukasiewicz Research Network, we put even greater emphasis on the cooperation of science and business. We are making use of synergy effect, due to which we are able to offer producers ready and comprehensive business solutions, with the use of research infrastructure, often unique in the country, and even in the world and competences of over 4.5 thousand scientists and engineers who make the Łukasiewicz team.
This is a huge potential which we intend to use, while supporting businesses in solving their technological problems, designing innovative solutions and technologies, modernising processes and coducting R+D projects. In order to meet this objective, Łukasiewicz Challenge System was created – an innovative tool which helps us tackle specific entrepreneurs` problems and needs.
How do the entrepreneurs benefit from such a model of cooperation?
Łukasiewicz Challenge System is a unique mechanism which helps the entrepreneurs report a technical or process-related problem in a quick and simple manner – all they have to do is to fill in a form on our website: https://lukasiewicz.gov.pl/biznes/. Once they receive a report like that, the experts from Łukasiewicz Institutes immediately begin work on possible solutions to the problem. Already within 15 business days from the date of reporting the challenge the entrepreneur receives, free of charge, suggested solution, recommended team of experts and apparatus back-up for conducting R+D works. However, not all projects require conducting research and development works. If the solution sought by the entrepreneur is a service already on offer of Łukasiewicz Institutes, e.g. certification or standard compliance test, the whole process is even faster. In such cases the entrepreneur may expect a response up to 5 business days.
Since the Łukasiewicz Challenge began its operation, over 400 companies benefited from scientific solutions. As you can see, it is an exceptionally effective tool which gains recognition among ever greater group of businessmen.
And what challenges are facing Łukasiewicz – Automotive Industry Institute now?
The challenges that we set for ourselves are strictly related to the development of automotive sector and objectives of Łukasiewicz Research Network. Based on our staff competences and research infrastructure that we have at our disposal, we aspire to reach the position of R+D leader in the automotive sector in Poland and in our part of Europe. Crisis in the industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic made us aware how important it is to create local delivery networks and have the national know-how. We wish to focus on that. In order to achieve this goal, we have to constantly revise the investment plans and provide scope for the development of our expert staff.
Paweł Posuniak, M.Sc. Eng., Director of Industrial Research and Development Center, Head of Laboratory Complex at Łukasiewicz Research Network – Automotive Industry Institute (Przemysłowy Instytut Motoryzacji)
An automotive enthusiast, graduate of Kazimierz Pułaski University of Technology and Humanities in Radom. Specialization: auto mechanics. He has over 18 years of professional experience. Now, as Director of Industrial Research and Development Center, he supervises the work of a team of research workers and scientists at Łukasiewicz Research Network – Automotive Industry Institute. He has competences in respect of vehicle construction and implementation of research and development works, as well as scientific research works. Co-author of several publications. At present, in the process of his doctorate studies at Jarosław Dąbrowski Military University of Technology.