Research and collaboration at Mcity go beyond technology, drawing from the expertise of faculty and researchers in areas of study throughout the U-M community, such as engineering, public policy, law, business, social sciences and urban planning.
Drawing on Expertise Throughout Our Campus
Challenges in a world of connected and automated vehicles are not just technical. That’s why, in addition to our industry and government partners, Mcity draws on knowledge and expertise throughout the University to explore the scope of issues that must be addressed to best implement emerging technologies. The research interests within Mcity span data science, law, policy, urban planning, energy, public health, medicine, social science, economics, and business, as well as engineering and science.
Below are several examples of the various U-M schools and entities we work with. We welcome research collaborators from across the U-M community.
U-M Transportation Research Institute
Founded in 1965, U-M Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), is a global leader in transportation research and a partner of choice for industry leaders, foundations, and government agencies. UMTRI has conducted more than 1,000 research projects with a multidisciplinary approach involving traffic safety analysis and bioengineering to human factors, mechanical engineering, psychology, economics, and public policy.
Mcity is partnering with UMTRI on research and in the deployment of connected and automated vehicle technologies that are leading to the transformation of our current transportation system. Through this work UMTRI has collected over 70 terabytes of data; nearly seven million trips; 45 million miles; 138.5 billion records.
U-M’s College of Engineering is a key Mcity partner, providing critical ongoing funding. In addition, many Mcity-funded research projects involve Michigan Engineering faculty and students. Another engineering initiative is TechLab at Mcity, an incubator for early-stage mobility technology companies. With support from Mcity, TechLab is managed by the Center for Entrepreneurship, part of Michigan Engineering, and gives undergraduate students an opportunity for hands-on work with TechLab companies to solve real engineering problems.
Legal and liability issues are among the most challenging that must be addressed as the traditional vehicle ownership and use model evolves and literally takes consumers out of the driver’s seat. Mcity has funded research projects in this area conducted by Michigan Law faculty, and the school offers courses that give students a chance to explore the legal issues surrounding advanced mobility.
U-M Energy Institute
The Energy Institute also supports Mcity with funding, reflecting our overlapping missions. In the future, connected and automated vehicles are expected to lead to an overall reduction in carbon emissions and improve the overall energy efficiency of the global transportation fleet. The Energy Institute is the home of the Battery Lab, an open user facility dedicating to catalyzing the next generation of energy storage, which will propel the electrified vehicle fleet of the future.
Stephen B. Ross School of Business
Michigan Ross faculty work with Mcity industry partners on a variety of mobility-related projects, offering the business-case and management expertise to make innovations come to life. We look forward to further collaboration with Ross faculty and students as we explore new business models to speed the safe deployment of connected and automated vehicles.
A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Faculty at the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning are exploring the implications of connected, automated, and driverless vehicles on urban design and sustainability. How might city centers be designed – or redesigned – if fewer people own their own vehicles or take advantage of ride-sharing services? Will the need for parking options decline, freeing up space for parks or new business development? Will the potential environmental benefits of fewer vehicles on the road be realized?
U-M Robotics Institute
Mcity collaborates with robotics faculty in a number of ways, including through Mcity’s open-source connected and automated research vehicles, or Open CAVs. These vehicles can change the way robotics researchers do their work by providing access to a vehicle already equipped with sensors and software to support automated driving that would otherwise be too expensive for them to own and maintain. A new U-M Robotics Laboratory, expected to open in late 2019, will include garage space for self-driving cars. U-M will be the only university with a robotics lab down the road from a testing site for driverless and connected vehicles – the Mcity Test Facility.
Michigan Institute for Data Science
Mcity teams with Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) to harness the power of big data to advance connected and automated vehicles, gaining new insights from a wide variety of transportation related data. Mcity is also working to deploy automated vehicles that can be incorporated into a MIDAS-funded project to reinvent urban transportation and mobility using the U-M campus and the Ann Arbor region as a living laboratory.