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NSERC Presents 2 Minutes With Dr. John McPhee
University of Waterloo, Maplesoft and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada


Video Name

2 Minutes with Dr. John McPhee


NSERC Communications



Release Date

February 3, 2014


The University of Waterloo (UW), Maplesoft and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) have achieved together what would have been far more difficult if not impossible to do on their own.

The winners of a 2013 NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation were recognized for their success in designing automotive systems and model-based controllers that improve vehicle safety and comfort while reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

John McPhee

With Toyota and Maplesoft, we're developing new modelling tools to support the design and the control of automotive systems, but the ultimate goal of this research is to allow an engineer to reduce the development costs of a new product and to bring that product to market faster.

James Cooper

In the 2000, we were looking to expand the product line. Well, we talked very extensively to mathematicians but we actually wanted to have that technology used by engineers.

John McPhee

I showed them how their tools, combined with my modelling theories, could actually be quite useful for an engineer, particularly in the automotive industry. With that, we started a partnership in 2000 and the end results of that four-year program were modelling tools that Maplesoft then commercialized in a package now called MapleSim.

James Cooper

This is very unique technology. It solves very meaningful problems, especially in the automotive field. It allows designers to work much faster and at a much higher degree of fidelity.

Ray Tanguay

As president of the Toyota plant in Cambridge, when we first started the production of the RX in Canada which was the first plant outside of Japan to produce the Lexus, it was a huge challenge. The No. 1 customer complaint was the alignment of the vehicle. So we decided we needed to do a deep analysis, but that took us two years to do, to try to evaluate. We realized we couldn't sustain that. So that's where Dr. McPhee came part of my solution.

John McPhee

The result of that meeting in 2006-2007 was a three-way partnership. We were getting direct feedback from end-users, very engaged end-users at Toyota, and so this was extremely valuable feedback for us because it would help us guide the direction of our future research and its transfer into commercial products via Maplesoft.

Ray Tanguay

We're learning from each other, and that was the synergy that we were looking for. At the end of the day, people said, "Well, did it make a difference?" Well, I can tell you that our warranty claim for alignment has now been reduced by 50%.

John McPhee

The funding for... from NSERC has been key to the success of this relationship. Right now, we have thousands of users around the world in industries ranging from robotics to mechatronics to automotive and aerospace systems using the modelling theories that we developed in our lab.

James Cooper

It's truly transformed the company and it has allowed us to expand into engineering services and engineering products in ways we could never have dreamed of doing five years ago.

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