Intent on finding and developing clean and efficient new technologies that embrace energy diversity, innovation and sustainability, General Motors and the University of Michigan have established the GM/U-M Institute of Automotive Research and Education. The announcement was made in Ann Arbor by Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman for Global Product Development and David Munson, Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering and professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at U-M.
This new organization will see U-M faculty and students work directly with GM employees to supplement the automaker's existing and future R&D programs in the critical areas of advanced batteries, ultra-efficient engine systems and the burgeoning field of "smart" materials that are capable of responding to changing conditions and/or external stimuli. These efforts also will extend to exploring ways to improve the actual vehicle manufacturing process.
The historic ties between GM and U-M are long and strong, spanning some 50 years and numerous joint patents. Over 2,000 Michigan graduates now work for GM in various capacities. The automaker recently established a similar operation with Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China, and will shortly create a third such Institute with Politecnico in Torino, Italy.