Mastering the future of gear shift
Student collaboration with Master’s degree students of the University College of Southeast Norway
Kongsberg Automotive is working together with four Master’s degree students of the University College of Southeast Norway for a project on early phase innovation and development processes related to KA’s Automated Manual Transmission systems.
Kongsberg Automotive projects follow the principles of Knowledge Based Development (KBD) and New Product Introduction (NPI). By focusing on early phase innovation processes, a group of Master’s degree students in Systems Engineering will research and develop systematic processes related to idea generation and screening.
Sven Bjørkgård is a creative senior engineer and works as Innovation manager at Kongsberg Automotive. He has worked with research and development in the company for 25 years and is one of the student contacts.
“In KA we follow state-of-the-art innovation processes to meet customer needs. We can still improve on early phase innovation before we start a real project, and have established contact with the students to get new perspectives,” said Sven Bjørkgård.
Driver interaction during autonomous driving
In addition to research on early phase innovation, the students will look into solutions for controlling vehicles during autonomous driving, especially related to how the driver interacts with the vehicle to communicate if it should move forward or backward.
Sven is convinced that the outcome of the student project will be valuable for all parties involved, especially on innovation methods.
“During the project we give support and build relations with the students, and the students learn from working on a real project. This is a good way for us to find passionate people who are willing to pursue a career within the automotive industry after they graduate,” said Sven.
First, they will create a simple prototype after talks with a number of drivers. Based on this, the students will develop solutions to driver/vehicle interface, suited for autonomous driving.
The project coincides with the significant investment and strong focus by Kongsberg Automotive on Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) systems.
The technique they use is called Design Thinking, which is being used in Silicon Valley, with Stanford University in the lead.
“Design Thinking is an innovative methodology that consists of several focus areas, including marketing, business, system, product and design. The user is constantly in focus, and in this way we will find out what is really needed in the market and what products a company should focus on in the future,” said Daniel Klemetsen, one of the four students, told local paper Laagendalsposten (article in Norwegian)
The project requires a lot of research. The findings may apply to more than just the automotive industry, and may lead to new ways of controlling ships, trains, cranes and other types of transportation vehicles.
In Kongsberg the industrial enterprises and academia work together to improve the competitiveness of Norwegian industry. Several research projects, including this, are headed by Norwegian Centres of Expertise Systems Engineering (NCE SE). The result is a joint knowledge base that gives companies an innovative edge.
Dr. Larry Leifer, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, recently held a presentation at KA headquarters in Kongsberg on his research about Design thinking.
In KA we follow state-of-the-art innovation processes to meet customer needs. We can still improve on early phase innovation before we start a real project, and have established contact with the students to get new perspectives
Sven Bjørkgård, Innovation manager R&D