Research Promoted By Universities To Boost Automotive Industry

Chevrolet Volt plug-inResearchers from Wayne State University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan have been demonstrating how their efforts have added to technological advances being displayed at the Detroit auto show this week.

The researchers and the Universities contributed to fuel, safety and performance economy by more than $300 million.

The schools, together with their researchers,  have contributed by performing auto-related research projects for a five-year period, according to the state’s University Research Corridor partnership.

While at the North American International Auto Show, Jerry Ku, a professor at Wayne State University, said that the division between industry and academic research has gotten smaller in recent years.

“We are very, very aligned. Same direction,” said Ku, whose research deals in part with electric vehicle battery packs.

He said that vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt plug-in, Toyota’s Prius hybrids, and the Nissan Leaf electric car were used as an inspiration to come up with new ways to teach people about the latest advances in the industry. Ku said that they asked students to take a look at how the technology for these vehicles is selected and developed.

In addition to the auto-related research projects completed from 2007 – 2011 – which was reported last year by East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group, commissioned by the URC – there are more projects under way, and the schools have noted that every year they have  3,600 students graduate from mathematics, science engineering and technology studies. And a large part of them who stay in the state after graduation go to work in the automotive industry.




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