It’s the star of the silver screen, from James Bond movies to Top Gear and soaps, yet the Bedfordshire-based test facility is also a top-secret site.
John Proctor, Technical and Special Projects Director – UTAC CERAM Millbrook, lifts the lid on what happens at the comprehensive testing facility, comprising laboratories and real-world testing environments.
He explains how they test electric vehicle’s batteries to destruction – literally – by setting fire to them, and simulating high-impact collisions.
The work to test vehicle emissions – 19,000 large vehicle tests completed and counting – is explored as is the new VTEC2 chamber, designed to deal with the next generation of vehicles, such as electric.
They also chat about the developments in autonomous controls, such as emergency braking, and how ‘connected vehicles’ will ‘talk’ to each other and other equipment, such as traffic lights.
They conclude by considering the different driving styles needed for electric vans and trucks, and how the facility trains drivers to break their ‘bad habits’.
UTAC CERAM Millbrook is a market-leading group in vehicle testing, type approval and emerging technologies for autonomous, connected and electric vehicles. It provides services and systems to customers in the automotive, transport, tyre, petrochemical and defence industries.
The group delivers regulation and homologation support, specialist vehicle conversions and test systems as well as training, consulting, audit and certification, technical inspection, standardisation and events.
UTAC CERAM Millbrook operates eight test centres – in France (including the official Euro NCAP facility), the UK (including the 5G-enabled Millbrook Proving Ground), the USA and Finland; it has subsidiaries in Germany, Russia, China and Japan. The group will be opening a proving ground in Morocco in 2021.
UTAC CERAM Millbrook employs around ,1280 people across its various locations. In 2019, the group recorded turnover of €173m.