May 24, 2014

General Motors, University of Michigan extend collaborative research

General Motors and the University of Michigan announced an agreement to extend their collaborative automotive research efforts through 2017.

Launched in 1998, Collaborative Research Laboratories (CRL) at the University of Michigan haveled to significant commercial
and academic success for students, the university and the automaker. In 2011, it yielded a unique process to ultrasonically weld battery tabs together that played a role in enabling the Chevrolet Volt team to offer an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery system.

The new Automotive CRL creates an organizational umbrella structure and initially will focus on research into engine systems and advanced manufacturing. In addition, GM and the University of Michigan have anexisting, separate CRL that concentrates on smart material developments.

The programs will fund four fellowships for graduate students and provide support for postdoctoral scholars, research scientists and faculty. The chosen recipients will carry out research on real-world problems that affect GM while enhancing their academic experience at the University of Michigan.

"We are excited to continue what is a more than 50-year relationship with General Motors," said David Munson, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan. "We believe our graduate students and faculty can operate as an extension of General Motors' global research and development activities, which we are confident will enhance GM while providing exceptional experiences for our students."

In the Automotive CRL's engine systems research lab, students willuse state-of-the-art laser imaging diagnostics and conduct engine simulation studies to make the most of future, highly efficient engines with ultra-low emissions. 

The Automotive CRL's advanced manufacturing lab will focus materials joining technologies, assembly systems and simulations to enhance plant floor quality, efficiency and responsiveness.

In the smart materials lab, researchers apply technologies to reduce vehicle mass, add functionality, increase design flexibility and decrease component size and cost.

"GM's relationship with the University of Michigan over the years has provided benefits to the company because these young minds, who bring a fresh perspective, carry out research on real-world issues that impact GM's vehicle innovation, design and manufacturing operations," said Jon Lauckner, GM's Chief Technology Officer, Vice-President of Global R&D and President of GM Ventures. "We expect more great things to come from our work with the University of Michigan."

GM has benefited with new technologies and ideas while students have used these experiences to spur career advancements. The work done in the previous CRLs has led students to careers in engineering and academia.


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