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Lawrence Tech President's Symposium to cover future of transportation, self-driving cars

Excerpt: 

Communities and society are profoundly affected by how efficiently, effectively, and safely people and goods move. But what are the proper roles of society and industry in designing future transportation systems?

In the 2018 installment of the President’s Symposium Series at Lawrence Technological University on Thursday, Oct. 11, a panel of experts will discuss those roles, and explore the full-scale implementation of autonomous and advanced driver-assist technologies.

Read more.

Lawrence Tech President's Symposium to cover future of transportation, self-driving cars

Communities and society are profoundly affected by how efficiently, effectively, and safely people and goods move. But what are the proper roles of society and industry in designing future transportation systems?

In the 2018 installment of the President’s Symposium Series at Lawrence Technological University on Thursday, Oct. 11, a panel of experts will discuss those roles, and explore the full-scale implementation of autonomous and advanced driver-assist technologies.

The event is titled “Accessibility, Mobility, and Connectivity: The Edge of Future Transportation Systems.” Moderating the panel discussion will be Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle, PE, a 1987 Lawrence Tech engineering alumnus, who recently announced his retirement after 31 years with the state agency. Panelists for the event are to include:

  • Carla Bailo, president and CEO, Center for Automotive Research, a non-profit organization in Ann Arbor that conducts research and analysis to educate and advise stakeholders, policy makers, and the general public on critical issues facing the auto industry, and the industry's impact on the U.S. economy and society.
  • Soraya Kim, chief innovation officer, American Center for Mobility, a non-profit testing and product development center for connected and automated vehicle technology, located on the former Willow Run site in Ypsilanti Township.
  • Alisyn Malek, chief operating officer and co-founder, May Mobility Inc., an Ann Arbor-based  developer of autonomous vehicles, funded by BMW and Toyota, among others.
  • Douglas Patton, senior technical advisor, DENSO International America Inc., the Southfield-based U.S. headquarters of the Japanese auto supplier.
  • Jeremy Tuggle, engineering manager, systems engineering and testing, Continental Corp., Auburn Hills, the U.S. headquarters of the German auto supplier Continental AG.

The event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. and the program starts at 7 p.m. The venue is the Mary E. Marburger Auditorium, Room S100, Science Building, LTU, 21000 W. 10 Mile Road, Southfield, MI, 48075 (see www.ltu.edu/map). The event is sponsored by LTU’s College of Engineering.

“This event will feature people who are at the top of their field, discussing state-of-the-art technology in mobility,” said Nabil Grace, dean of the College of Engineering at Lawrence Tech. “These technologies, in transportation and infrastructure, represent the future of Michigan. Students and young people in particular should be interested in this program, because these are the technologies they will be working on in their future careers.”

LTU’s President’s Symposium is an annual presentation series created by Virinder Moudgil, the university’s president since 2012, focusing on technology and its applications to improve the quality of life.

The President’s Symposium is free and open to the public. For further information, contact Tamara Botzen, administrative assistant, Office of the Dean, College of Engineering, at tbotzen@ltu.edu or (248) 204-2500.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.


LTU Self-driving champs

Lawrence Technological University has once again established itself as a leader in the field of autonomous vehicles.

The Southfield-based university won the Self-Drive Challenge contest at the 26th Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC), which was held June 1 through 4 at Oakland University in Rochester. It’s the second year in a row that LTU has won the contest.

The team of LTU students created ACTor, or Autonomous Campus Transport/Taxi, a self-driving campus shuttle bus. The vehicle was judged on a range of tasks, including lane-following and -changing, obstacle avoidance, reading traffic signs, detecting potholes and avoiding them, and more.

C.J. Chung, professor of computer science at LTU and the winning team leader, says that contests like the IGVC both prepares students for the workforce while simultaneously advancing the fields of technology. Students are solving real-world problems while applying lessons learned.

“Driving at night, or in the fog--there are so many unknown environments that self-driving cars can be driving in,” Chung says.

“To be a real product, reliability needs to be 100 percent.”

The contest allowed companies the ability to get a sneak peek of what’s coming down the talent pipeline. It’s a talented future workforce, says Chung, and one upon which the industry relies.

Since winning the competition, students are now reprogramming ACTor to serve as an actual autonomous taxi on the LTU campus.

LTU’s competitors in the contest included University, the University of Detroit Mercy, the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, and New York University. The winning team received $3,000 and a plaque.

“Detroit is the automotive hub. We should work hard to be the leader in this industry of self-driving vehicles, as well,” says Chung.

“Universities need to provide a talented workforce in order to do that.”

Visit Driven and learn how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.

Work of Troy-based engineering company featured in Canadian museum exhibit on biomimicry

A Canadian museum is showcasing innovative applications of biomimicry in vehicle design, and a Troy-based company is one of the key players involved.

The engineering firm Altair, headquartered in Troy, has several products featured in the temporary exhibition Inspiring NATURE, inspired TECHNOLOGY: Biomimicry and Transportation at the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier in Valcourt, Quebec.

A vehicle frame structure showcased in the exhibit was designed using three of the company’s products, OptiStruct, RADIOSS, and Inspire. The frame structure utilizes biomimicry in its design, a practice that emulates patterns and structures found throughout the natural world.

According to the company, Altair’s optimization technology allowed designers and engineers to use the loads and forces the product is subjected to as inputs, generating innovative material layouts. Designers and engineers used the technology to investigate structurally-efficient concepts based on biomimicry principles, using natural designs to solve human riddles.

"It is a pleasure and an honor for Altair to have been invited to collaborate with the Museum of ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier to develop the cross-Canada exhibition on innovation from nature and biomimicry," said Bob Little, managing director of Altair Engineering Canada. "Altair’s solutions for simulation-driven design and optimization are having a real impact on the ability of our customers to develop innovative new designs with greater confidence and in less time."

The exhibition will stay at the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier for a year before it travels cross-country.

"This exhibition showcases the work done by the Museum team and several partners whose collaboration has been most valuable," said Carol Pauzé, director of the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier.

"Did you know that nature rewards cooperation? As was the case with Inspiring NATURE, inspired TECHNO, it leads to amazing results."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


Wixom's Kiekert moves manufacturing operations as part of a $3M expansion

Excerpt

Kiekert, an automotive locking company in Wixom, is moving its manufacturing operations to a new 41,000-square-foot facility at 50695 Varsity Court in Wixom.

The company’s previous production facility on Liberty Drive in Wixom will continue to serve as its research and development center.

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Belgian auto supplier to build headquarters in Metro Detroit, adding 87 jobs

Excerpt: 

A global technology and service provider for commercial vehicles is building its North American headquarters in Auburn Hills. 

Belgium-based WABCO Holdings, Inc. is building a 102,000-square-foot facility with plans to add 87 new jobs in the next three years, the company announced. The facility would house about 200 employees in total.

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By supporting FIRST, Bosch helps build the mobility workforce


This feature is courtesy of Driven, the story of how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.

The way Charlie Ackerman sees it, government, industry, and educators must work together toward a common goal to build a supply line of talent. As senior vice president of human resources, North America, at Robert Bosch L.L.C., Ackerman has witnessed the power of supporting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives in preparing young people to succeed in the technical workforce.

For the majority of his 23 years with Bosch, Ackerman has been a staunch supporter of FIRST, the international team robotics club for students. When Detroit was deep in the Great Recession, Ackerman recognized the significant impact FIRST could have as the the region recovered economically.

With more than 400 teams, Michigan is the largest FIRST state in the country, and Detroit will host the FIRST Championship at Cobo Center April 25-28.

“The FIRST concept is all about balancing the attention of our society around education and the development of people,” says Ackerman. He questions how society can replicate the energy dedicated to college and professional sports toward education, given the percentage of student athletes who succeed in pro sports versus those who aspire to STEM careers.

“Every associate that participates in FIRST gets a job. There is no loss,” he says.

Skills learned through FIRST, and other STEM education initiatives like SAE’s K-grade 8 AWIM, including collaboration, project management, leadership, business planning, fundraising, and account management are valuable to Bosch. That’s why they have 72 formal mentors representing Bosch in 21 FIRST teams in the U.S., impacting 1,000 students each year in communities where Bosch has a presence, including Charleston, Charlotte, Palo Alto, and cities in Illinois and Michigan.

“We literally put our leaders inside these teams and they build the talent and develop relationships,” says Ackerman. “We involve them in internship programs, we track them and put them into our targeted colleges through scholarships.”

As many as 1,000 students intern yearly with Bosch, with up to 350 placed between Farmington Hills and Plymouth. More than half eventually become Bosch employees. While Bosch focuses on strategic workforce development from the high school level, kids can participate in age-appropriate FIRST activities as early as age six.

And Ackerman says this strategy is working.

“If you look at computer software development in Detroit, and start thinking of skilled workers in this space, there is no unemployment. So if you can’t buy the talent, you have to build it.”

Trainee first responders learn to save lives through mobility


This feature is courtesy of Driven, the story of how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.

When first responders are on their way to an emergency, nothing is more important than information, because data learned in advance can save time and lives.

Critical information can tell first reponders if the the road ahead is clear, the size of the building on fire, if people are inside, and what kind of fire suppression system exists in the building.

With smart infrastructure enabling the new world of smart mobility, EMTs could have access to this information, and much more. They’ll also need to be trained to use new tools to gather this potentially life-saving data. That's why a number of companies, including Lear Corp., have helped install an array of new sensor technology into the Combined Regional Emergency Services Training (CREST) mini-city at Oakland Community College.

In addition to Lear’s roadside unit (RSU) sensors, HAAS Alert provided consumer alert applications, Mobile Data Holdings provided real-time video, and TracksUS provided in-vehicle diagnostics.

Running the show is Elaina Farnsworth, thought leader in the autonomous and intelligent transportation industry, and Mobile Comply CEO, says the sensors should be in place by this spring, allowing first responder trainees to test them in a real-world environment. Some of the connections will run through traffic lights, and some radios will be equipped with DSRC (dedicated short-range communication) devices to see if the safety messaging channel can be more effective.

"It really allows us to be very clear and targeted around new technologies that could aid and help these emergency responders in a controlled environment," Farnsworth says.

Mobile Comply was founded in 2010 to provide education and certification work for professionals who wanted to get into connected technology. She says the CREST project is the perfect next step in both educating the next generation of first responders and testing the sensors.

"We started talking about how nice it would be if we could have a conglomerate of different companies that would contribute something to be able to start training our emergency responders how to use some of these connected vehicle technologies," she says. "How can it make their jobs easier? How can it make saving lives faster?

Eventually, she hopes to incorporate drone technology, too, into the array of sensors getting real-time data from the scene of an emergency.

Douglas Smith, executive director for workforce development at Oakland Community College, says Lear has placed the sensors in the buildings and testing will wait until the weather clears up in the springtime. From there, they'll develop training modules for emergency workers.

Oakland County taking steps to retool its mobility workforce

There’s nothing like a challenge to get Oakland County fired up.

The challenge came in the form of a 2017 Connected Mobility Skills Needs Assessment conducted by Oakland County and the Michigan Talent Investment Agency.

The report said that if Oakland County is going to remain competitive in the coming connected mobility revolution, it needs to do a better job of developing and attracting a workforce with the right balance of engineering skills and automotive knowledge.

So local colleges and business groups are rising to meet the goal, by using this report to make improvements or changes to curricula.

Jennifer Llewellyn, manager of Oakland County Workforce Development, says the report surveyed 50 area employers that serve the connected mobility industry, asking them what knowledge, abilities, and skills they look for in potential hires. The report was presented to educational institutions, professional organizations, and business groups around the region.

"Our goal is to ensure Oakland County’s talent pool has the required knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to meet employer demand," Llewellyn says.

The assessment, the fourth in a series of surveys in emerging technology sectors since 2009, is frank in its conclusion that eight major areas need to be addressed before Oakland County can compete with other regions in developing a mobility workforce.

The top area of concern is an "insufficient pipeline of qualified workers." There's not enough local talent with advanced degrees, and those who do, lack experience in the automotive field. This leaves many local companies with no choice but to try to poach workers from other regions. The problem is that Southeast Michigan is still perceived as a region with an outdated manufacturing base, making it harder to compete with other metropolitan areas.

Other problems identified by the survey include educational institutions offering outdated engineering degrees, visa restrictions, deficient connected mobility training programs, and a general antiquated perception of the automotive industry.

The report, while frank in its conclusions, is being used by local institutions to make improvements.

"Oakland University used the data to help shape the curriculum for their Master’s in Systems Engineering," Llewellyn says. "Other entities are reviewing the report and using it to shape future curriculum in the connected mobility space."

Troy High School auto lab receives $200K in improvements

David Easterbrook was walking the halls of Troy High School when he saw the sign for the school's auto lab. He had just finished giving a speech on behalf of Ashley's Dream, the foundation he started to combat the threat of drunk driving. It's a subject he knows all too well; his own daughter, Ashely, was killed by a drunk driver nearly 20 years ago.

Seeing the sign for the auto lab, Easterbrook decided to pop his head in the room. Cars are also something that he knows well, having founded the automotive company AME Vertical in 2001.

Easterbrook says he saw an auto lab that could use an upgrade. So he put the wheels in motion to do just that. Drawing on his own company and its clients, as well as his foundation, Easterbrook successfully raised $200,000 to improve the Troy High School auto lab, an accomplishment that was celebrated earlier this week.

"My daughter would always say, how can we make life better for people," says Easterbrook. "I think this does that."

The money raised was used to gut the old auto lab and parts room. The old carpet is gone, and the floors were ground down and polished. Walls were painted. New parts shelving and racking were installed. And new computer stations and desks were delivered for the students.

With his experience in the auto industry, Easterbrook says there's a real need for automotive and mechanical education. Gone are the days of mechanics only knowing how to do oil changes and tire rotations. Today's high-tech automobiles require more education and technological know-how.

There is a dearth in the workforce, he says. It's a good living, and an industry that could use the investment in young talent.

"The mechanics today are working on computers as much as they are cars. This is high-tech stuff and these are smart kids," says Easterbrook. "We need to encourage people to go into these fields."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

The future is now: A glimpse into metro Detroit's mobility ecosystem

If automobiles were biological species, Metro Detroit would be their native biome. And when it comes to mobility technology, the metaphor continues.

Viewed separately, Ann Arbor, the City of Detroit, Macomb County and Oakland County, and each area of the larger Southeast Michigan region may appear to be working separately, even competing in the development of connected and autonomous transportation, each building next-generation mobility technology in individual landscapes.

But a look at the whole picture reveals how each regions’ initiatives join to form a single, complete mobility ecosystem, densely populated with an interconnected web of assets, industries, innovations, and transportation expertise. Together, they are moving people, goods, and services more intelligently and efficiently than ever before.

Metro Detroit’s cohesive mobility landscape is evolving, here in the space where the auto industry began. We wanted to better understand how that's happening across the region, so we took a “hike” across the mobility ecosystem of Southeast Michigan to see what's developing in each individual landscape.

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Bosch Group in Farmington Hills establishes SEG Automotive, independent company for hybrid tech

Excerpt:

The starter motor and generator division of the Bosch Group in Farmington Hills has announced its completed transition to an independent company, SEG Automotive. The new company is owned by Zhengzhou Coal Mining Machinery Group Co., and has established its headquarters in Novi, which will employ 60 people.

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Novi's Morrison Industries aims to hire 100 employees over two years

Morrison Industries, which makes steel shipping containers for the manufacturing industry and custom shipping racks for automakers, is growing, and opening a second manufacturing plant in Novi. 

Production at the 50,000-square-foot Morrison Industries North is on track to begin in January. The goal is to start production with 15 to 20 employees and aim for 100 employees "over the next 24 months," the company says. It'll be looking to hire in the following jobs: welder, fabricator, maintenance and general office staff.

"The central location in the metro area allows us to provide the most convenient access to our customers, with locations in both the northern and southern regions," the company says.

Morrison Industries, founded in 1979, is based in Morrison, Tennessee, and counts GM, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, and Toyota as some of its clients.

"We're not a stranger to growth and expansion," CEO Jacob Wilson says in a memo posted on Morrison Industries' website. "Over the last 25 years, our family-owned company has grown to be one of the most trusted names in auto-rack manufacturing. We are excited to better position ourselves to serve both current and new customers."

Brose expansion to add 300 jobs

Brose North America, an auto supplier headquartered in Auburn Hills, is expanding and adding 300 jobs. 

Brose, a subsidiary of Brose in Germany, will be investing $105 million locally over the next five years — the Auburn Hills headquarters and also a manufacturing plant in New Boston. Brose told Metromode the site's expansion is a result of new business that requires welding, paint, and track lines as well as the need to increase seat structure assembly lines.
 

The company will be hiring for human resources, finance, logistics and engineering, as well as production operators, paint and welding technicians, maintenance workers, and quality technicians.


The investment is part of a $2.7 million grant approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund, which, in 2014 had approved a $4.25 million grant for Brose. In total, Brose will be adding 775 jobs and pumping $202 million into the expansion. 

Brose was founded in Germany in 1908 and established its North American operations in 1993 and manufactures, markets, and supplies auto parts including window, door, and seat systems, according to Brose. It also has a plant in Warren.

The company had a busy 2017 as it opened two new plants: one in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and one in Belvidere, Illinois. The expansion in New Boston, along with an expansion in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, are scheduled to be completed in 2018. Brose also said construction is underway for a new plant in Queretaro, Mexico, that should open by 2018.
 

OU INC graduates international client company Car Studio

Car Studio, an OU INC client company, recently graduated from its incubator program and international Soft Landing Facility. The company’s success has allowed it to move into a nearby facility in Troy. Headquartered in Europe, Car Studio’s U.S. expansion has led the parent company to decide to keep the U.S. location in Oakland County, thereby adding jobs to the region and becoming a thoroughly successful incubator graduate.

During Car Studio’s time as a client company, OU INC provided incubation and acceleration services to assist Car Studio on their path to success. Car Studio took advantage of the benefits of being located within an incubator and soft landings program, including that of being in close proximity to other growing companies in the expansion phase.

“For us, the best things about OU INC are the spacing, the pricing, and the quiet atmosphere to start a business. OU INC has the warehouse space, which not a lot of places have,” said Andrea Abrami, president, Car Studio North America.

“Though there are many types of businesses in one office building, we all have the same startup business mentality. So, if you need anything or have questions, we’re all in it together.”

Car Studio was founded in 1986 in Europe by Dario Abrami after having gained more than 20 years of experience in the design industry. Expanding rapidly, it became one of the leading companies in the automotive and agriculture sectors. Today, Car Studio boasts experience in many different sectors and can offer a high level of technical competence thanks to qualified collaborators and state-of-the-art IT systems.

OU INC is a designated Soft Landing Facility for international companies through the International Business Association (iNBIA). iNBIA’s Soft Landings network ensures that businesses entering or expanding into a new country are provided with an accelerated introduction to that country’s business practices, regulations, and culture. Soft Landings designees help make contacts in a new country more quickly and efficiently while providing access to the resources necessary to meet their business goals.
106 Automotive Articles | Page: | Show All
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