I had the privilege of attending the NAFEMS World Congress in Salzburg in June. It was a busy time for myself and my e-learning colleague Kamran Fouladi as we gave a series of short classes to act as tasters for the full courses run throughout the year. It was very pleasant to meet NAFEMS members who had already attended the e-learning courses. Teaching the classes is quite a remote experience and it is great to get feedback and encouragement first hand. Being recognized by a Russian attendee whilst visiting the Eagle’s Nest was a unique experience.
I did manage to attend some of the papers and was very impressed by their range and quality. I spoke to several first time attendees and they were all struck by the unique insights into the Simulation community that the NAFEMS conference gives.
Of the many themes that emerged, one in particular struck me. A keynote paper by Mr Hasselblad of Volvo showed the extraordinary lengths automotive manufacturers go to ensure safety of the vehicles and how important a role simulation plays in this. Volvo continues to be, probably, the leader in this field and this was underpinned by the stated goal that that by 2020 there would be no serious injuries to an occupant of a Volvo vehicle involved in an accident. This is an incredible mission statement and an amazing humanitarian vision, just think about it for a moment. I hope I have not misquoted – it made a deep impression on me.
What a wonderful testament to the disciplines we have all been so deeply immersed in and to realize they have matured to the point where a promise to preserve life at such a fundamental level can be made. I like the fact that this is not a cynical PR statement driven by marketing emphasis. It stands alone as a pure goal for all Volvo engineers to strive for.
I was also privileged to chair a session where an automotive sound systems manufacturer showed the level of refinement and ruggedness that could be achieved by careful simulation within the vehicle environment. This ranged from making sure the ergonomics of turning a dial were optimized through to survivability in a crash.
Many of us have experienced the immediate personal post-crash stress levels, even if no one is hurt. Perhaps the combination of vehicle and systems design improvements will give us a future where, as long as the insurance is paid up, we can just sit in the car awaiting the tow truck and unwinding to the sound of Mozart!
Until next time,