JA – This must be an exciting time but also one of reflection. After 13 years, what are the highlights?
KC – It is hugely exciting and the beginning of a tantalising chapter in our story. Ansible Motion has played a significant role in the widespread acceptance and adoption of simulation tools since it was formed in 2009. When we started, simulation was primarily a tool for motorsport engineers with the first approaches only just starting to come from OEMs. Often it felt as if we were starting from zero; educating engineers, purchasers and product planners about what Driver-in-the-Loop simulation was and how much potential it had. Today, DIL is widely accepted as an effective and efficient vehicle development tool, I can’t think of many OEMs who don’t trust this form of technology. I would like to think we have contributed to this positive step in the industry.
JA – Ansible Motion has grown significantly in the last 18 months. What was behind that expansion?
KC – Two things immediately spring to mind; first, the simulator market is growing rapidly and second, the success of our Delta series S3. Regarding the first element, I have seen market reports that suggest the automotive simulation sector alone was valued at USD 585 million last year with predictions it could reach USD 790 million by 2027. The rise of CASE is one factor fuelling the market. Cars are increasingly complex with an almost infinite range of scenarios and interactions to be validated. Add on top new alternative powertrains coming on stream and the car makers are desperate for tools they can trust. They want to see how drivers will use EVs, which operations will improve range and efficiency and what will please or annoy the occupants. Simulators such as ours offer the ability to undertake these tests and more, repeatably, in a lab-like environment. And crucially, there is a cost and time pressure. Simulators respond to that need perfectly, reducing development times. One aspect not always considered is the ability to use simulators to make better products. If your engineers have the option to try more ideas in a virtual world, with the freedom to do so without building costly prototypes or reserving track time, then they can experiment and refine ideas that in the past they might not have risked because it would quickly become too late to make changes.
JA – And also the Delta series S3?
KC – Yes. In line with the demand for high-fidelity, highly dynamic, human-centric vehicle tools, we wanted to produce a product that was versatile enough to appeal to a multitude of departments and it has resonated well with customers, both existing and new. The S3 is a turn-key testing environment, making it a convincing option for buyers when deciding what simulator to source. The S3’s appeal has been beyond the traditional OEMs. We have sold one to Continental and Deakin University in Australia for example. There are more announcements coming too.
JA – Your customer base is also growing then?
KC – Yes, and we have a strong order book going forward, with turnover predicted to double in 2023.
JA – And that was part of the appeal for AB Dynamics?
KC – Ansible Motion has a very strong reputation and has built very solid and close links with loyal customers. Some we can mention such as Honda, Ford and GM, others not just yet. Our product portfolio complements its existing line up so it is a perfect match and will open up new opportunities for Ansible Motion and AB Dynamics. Our team, which will remain in Hethel, delivers world-class engineering and technical support which along with our road and race car experience is hugely appreciated by customers.
It was important to find the right partner for the future. Both companies have always shared a common vision. Now, we will be joining forces to better serve automotive customers worldwide.
JA – Will we see Ansible Motion work on different products?
KC – I foresee Ansible Motion continuing to focus on the development of the world’s most immersive Driver-in-the-Loop simulation technologies. Some interesting R&D programmes we are working on will offer our customer bases even more options with our DIL simulators.
JA – And what about for you? You have played a significant role in this business. Will you be stepping back?
KC – We have built a hugely talented team including designers and engineers who are bringing more ideas and making Ansible Motion what it is today. Designer Bob Stevens and I are committed to Ansible Motion until at least the end of next year. I am personally looking forward to having more time to implement some of the ideas I have been considering. There are a lot of ideas I’ve not had the time to investigate!
JA – Best wishes for the future.
KC – Thank you for all the support from you and everyone at Just Auto.