Jaguar Land Rover will lead a £10 million research programme aiming to boost virtual engineering alongside SMEs.

The car giant is leading a five-year research programme, along with four universities including Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), which was unveiled by Business Secretary Vince Cable on a visit to the region.

The research programme, which is also aided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), aims to help the UK take a global lead in virtual simulation technology.

Dr Cable was taken on a tour of WMG to show the latest virtual reality technology used by JLR in its product development.

The research will improve the quality and capabilities of simulation, using sights, sounds and even smells to make virtual simulation more realistic.

Dr Cable said: “With world-class universities and cutting edge companies like Jaguar Land Rover, the UK is well placed to be at the forefront of driving innovation and developing new technology. This investment will support the Government’s industrial strategy by boosting the UK’s manufacturing capability and helping to keep us globally competitive.”

JLR has pumped £4 million into the project, which is split into several areas. Visualisation and virtual experience will be run out of WMG, while analysis of the vehicle as a complex system will take place in Loughborough and Leeds, multi-functional simulation in Loughborough and high performance computing in Cambridge.