In Memory of Huei Peng

December 5, 2022
Professor Huei Peng stands at podium with Mcity banner behind his right shoulder. Banner is blue with white print. Professor Peng has black hair and wears glasses. He is wearing brown jacket, white shirt and tie.

Former Mcity director was an innovative researcher, leader and educator in vehicle controls and connected/automated vehicles.

Huei Peng, former director of Mcity and Roger L. McCarthy Professor of Mechanical Engineering, passed away on November 17, 2022. Peng joined the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan in 1993 and was director of Mcity, a public-private research partnership led by U-M and focused on advanced mobility, from 2016 to 2021.

Under Peng’s leadership, Mcity grew from being known primarily for its test facility for connected and automated vehicles to a full-fledged research collaboration with partners from the public, private and academic sectors. Mcity funded nearly 90 research projects and published more than a dozen white papers during Peng’s tenure. He oversaw the Mcity Driverless Shuttle research project to learn more about consumer trust and acceptance of AV technology, and developed methodology for demonstrating safety of AVs before testing them on public roads.

“This is a tragic and unexpected loss for all of us who were lucky enough to know and work with Huei at Mcity,” said Mcity Director Henry Liu, also professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation. “He set a high standard for Mcity, and his dedication was reflected in everything he accomplished as director, and continued to achieve as a faculty member whose research we funded.”

Huei Peng stands next to one of two  fully-automated vehicles that transported U-M students, faculty, staff and others during the Mcity Driverless Shuttle research project.
Huei Peng stands next to the Mcity Driverless Shuttle

Peng’s work focused on adaptive control and optimal control, with emphasis on their applications to vehicular and transportation systems. His latest research included design and control of electrified vehicles, and connected and automated vehicles.

“Huei’s dedication and work in the mechanical engineering department and at Mcity over the last 30 years were unparalleled, and he always had such a kind presence about him. He will be dearly missed,” said Ellen Arruda, Tim Manganello/BorgWarner Department Chair and Maria Comninou Collegiate Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

In the last 10 years, Peng was also involved in the design of several military and civilian concept vehicles for both electric and hydraulic hybrid concepts. From 2011 to 2016, he served as the US Director of the Department of Energy sponsored Clean Energy Research Center—Clean Vehicle Consortium, which supports more than 30 research projects related to the development of clean vehicles.  

He served as the principal investigator or co-principal investigator of more than 65 research projects and authored more than 300 technical publications, including 150 in refereed journals and transactions and four books. According to, he was among the top 25 mechanical and aerospace engineering scientists in the United States. He was a fellow of both the Society of Automotive Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

In the realm of education, Peng was an innovator who laid key portions of the foundation that Michigan Engineering’s Integrative Systems + Design division is built upon. He believed in setting high expectations and helping students to exceed them by selecting innovative research topics with high impact. One of his proudest achievements was that more than half of his Ph.D. students have each published at least one paper cited more than 100 times.

“Through his leadership and scholarship, Huei made an impact on our campus and in the field of engineering. He was an innovative researcher and a kind person, and we will miss him greatly,” said Alec D. Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and a professor of aerospace engineering.

Peng will be laid to rest in Taiwan on December 11, 2022. Plans are in progress for an event at Michigan Engineering to celebrate Peng’s life, with details to be determined at a later date.

This story was written by Jessica Petras of Michigan Engineering