A truck fit for a Queen
On the road for 10 years
With the right insight, design, service and technical expertise, roadshow trucks can have the longevity to deliver campaigns that provide a hands-on experience for huge numbers of people. While some campaigns may last a year, or even just a few months, some, like the MANufacturing TRAnsporter (MANTRA), have been bringing a unique experience to visitors for over a decade.
Built for the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), this truck has travelled the length and breadth of the UK in its quest to inspire young people to take up careers in engineering. Since 2008 over 56,700 visitors have benefited from the campaign, including young people from over 300 schools, colleges and universities.
A step on board the 13.6m HGV trailer, is a step into the world of modern British engineering. The truck’s design has allowed for the incorporation of interactive equipment and cutting-edge technologies, ranging from a tracked 3D virtual reality system, to GPS, laser alignment, smart tooling and robotics. While careful consideration of the internal space has ensured optimal on-board interactivity and a minimal set-up time by designing large areas of fixed displays.
It was a November day in 2010 that saw HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh don a pair of virtual reality glasses for the first time to remotely activate a digger from inside the truck: a visit that recognised the AMRC’s importance in educating tomorrow’s engineers. And, it’s not the only time MANTRA has made the headlines, with high profile visitors across the years including Brian Cox, Carol Vorderman, Rachel Riley and Jason Bradbury. The truck has also pitched up at the Houses of Parliament where MPs including Vince Cable and Peter Mandelson participated in the on-board activities.
Speaking about the tour’s success to date, Professor Keith Ridgway, Executive Dean of the AMRC Group, said: “What has really stood this campaign apart in our eyes, has been its adaptability. Over the last 10 years, we’ve been able to respond and react to changing technologies, bringing to life new and exciting content for visitors. The truck has moved along with the campaign, whether that has been refitting the internal equipment or updating the external graphics.
“With regular servicing and maintenance by EMS, the MANTRA has become an indispensable resource and has enabled us to provide an experience to remember for thousands of young people across the country.”