ANN ARBOR – Forty-two companies have committed to investing $150,000 each in Mcity as Affiliate members over the next three years.
Mcity is the University of Michigan-led public-private R&D initiative leading the transformation to connected and automated mobility.
The Affiliate members represent a broad range of industry sectors that reflect Mcity’s success in building an ecosystem of companies committed to the center’s mission to accelerate the development and implementation of connected and automated vehicles to improve traffic safety, conserve energy and increase accessibility to transportation.
“Motor vehicle crashes kill about 37,000 people every year in the United States and 1.2 million people globally every year,” said Huei Peng, Mcity director and the Roger L. McCarthy Professor of Mechanical Engineering at U-M. “If we use new technologies right, we can save lives.”
Affiliate companies include automotive manufacturers, suppliers, chip and hardware makers, insurance providers and companies engaged in technologies such as advanced modeling, big data acquisition and intelligent transportation systems.
“Mcity is tackling an aggressive research agenda to accelerate progress towards a world with safer and more efficient mobility through connected and autonomous vehicles,” said Jeff Hood, principal with Deloitte Digital. “As an Affiliate member, Deloitte Consulting is able to collaborate with a diverse group of Mcity participants to help shape that future of mobility.”
Affiliate members complement Mcity’s 11 Leadership Circle member companies, who have each committed a total of $1 million over three years to support Mcity and its programs in this second phase of funding.
“Incorporating the ‘voice of the customer’ into the development of automated vehicles is a critical part of consumer acceptance, and that’s why J.D. Power is associated with Mcity,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and human machine interface at J.D. Power. “Mcity is doing valuable research in mobility that will have significant influence.”
The new funding comes as Mcity has established itself as a leading voice in connected and automated mobility. Bringing together industry, government and academia, Mcity is the only advanced mobility R&D center that combines early-stage research; testing in the state-of-the-art, real-world environment of the Mcity Test Facility; and on-road vehicle deployments to further prove new technologies.
“Subaru is looking forward to further collaboration with Mcity in the future,” said Subaru vice president Kiminaga Shirakawa. “The various connectivity and sensor-oriented tests that we have performed within the Mcity (Test Facility) environment, along with the potential for autonomous vehicle technology development, make Mcity a very beneficial resource for our company.”
To date, Mcity has invested about $20 million in 40 research projects. The total investment at Mcity and the U-M Transportation Research Institute in connected and automated vehicle research, development and deployment activities will exceed $100 million by 2020, with funding from U-M, government agencies, and industry.
“As an industry leader in the drive to make transportation predictive, safer and more efficient, Savari values being a member of Mcity and their quest to lead the transformation of connected and automated vehicles,” said Faroog Ibrahim, executive director of Savari Inc.
In addition, dozens of faculty and hundreds of students are engaged in work to advance mobility. New capabilities have recently been added to the Mcity Test Facility, including a traffic control center with augmented reality testing capability, and connectivity between vehicles and the traffic infrastructure.
Research vehicles at Mcity include a 15-passenger driverless shuttle and two open-source connected and automated vehicles, which are platforms to help U-M faculty and researchers speed innovation. Mcity is preparing to launch a driverless shuttle on U-M’s North Campus.