The Auckland University professor has appeared in various issues of AA Directions alongside his colleague John Boys with their work pioneering inductive power transfer technology, or electricity without wires.

“With three teenage boys, my wife and I learnt to fully appreciate the patience of schoolteachers and were overjoyed to hand them back to the experts after lockdown. Like so many, we embraced online conferencing and video calls. All my lectures went online, we interacted with family and friends online, and we discovered that playing the card game 500 with friends online is a good second-best to playing in person. We rediscovered the joy of biking on empty streets and promised ourselves more exercise.

“Earlier this year, I travelled to Utah USA with other members of the MBIE-funded Inductive Power Transfer (IPT) Highways Programme. We discussed best practises on placing wireless power into the road so it wouldn’t reduce pavement life but would safely deliver wireless power to both parked and moving vehicles. The conference bought together academics, leading experts in companies, Government institutes and policy makers from around the globe; absent were our Chinese colleagues who had just experienced an outbreak of COVID 19.

“I returned to New Zealand after first travelling to Europe where I delivered IPT tutorials to aerospace companies in Germany and France. It was just ahead of the outbreak hitting Europe and today I struggle to see such travel along with important face-to-face interactions happening for some time. Yet the global interactions and connections have grown rather than reduced as we have all embraced various communication platforms. In June, I was gave a tutorial to nearly a thousand attendees in China on the history, development and commercialisation of wireless power for electric vehicles – something that would not have happened so spontaneously before, and would have been more difficult to organize because of my teaching schedule.

“Lockdown made me realize that life and work does not slow down if you have a passion to make things happen, rather it opens up new opportunities.”

Reported by Monica Tischler for our AA Directions Autumn 2020 issue

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