Transportation technologies receive $600K from U. of Mich.

Posted on July 31, 2017

Since 2012, U-M has been running the MTRAC advanced transportation program. Photo: University of Michigan
Since 2012, U-M has been running the MTRAC advanced transportation program. Photo: University of Michigan

Seven technologies demonstrating high potential to help solve transportation issues are receiving a total of $600,000 in funding from a University of Michigan research program to continue their advancement into the commercial market.

The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation is a statewide program that funds translational research applications in advanced transportation materials, robotics and autonomy, sensors, electric vehicle drivetrain/propulsion, software/controls/data, and advanced manufacturing processes. 

Five technologies will receive a $100,000 grant while two will receive $50,000 with the opportunity to unlock the remaining $50,000, after certain milestones are reached throughout the year.

“These teams have made the connection between their research and future transportation systems, and are working hard to get their technology to market,” said Eric Petersen, newly appointed U-M MTRAC Program Director. “Investing in projects and people will help the state retain leadership in the transportation industry as vehicles become electrified and as autonomous systems are proposed for moving people and goods.”

Projects receiving $100,000 in funding include:

  •      High-Frequency RADAR for Automotive Autonomous Applications (U-M): A sub-millimeter-wave radar system with superior detection resolutions, wide-scanning range and minimal size, weight and power consumption.
  •     High-Performance Coatings for Engine Cylinder Bores (Michigan State University): A process to deposit diamond-like coatings onto the inner surface of cylinder bores to reduce friction and resultant fuel consumption.
  •     Multi-Material 3D Printing (U-M): A method which integrates electrical assemblies into components through micro-additive manufacturing.
  •     Variable Coupling Wireless Power Transfer System (U-M): A wireless power transfer system that achieves high efficiency at a wide range of positions and distances between transmitter and receiver.
  •     Your Own Planner (U-M): An optimal travel planning search engine producing lower costs at minimal effort for given constraints and preferences.


Projects receiving $50,000 in funding include:

  •      Enhanced Object Recognition LIDARs for Robotics (U-M): A system to compliment the distance ranging of LIDARs with fast and accurate object recognition, which will enable LIDAR point clouds to be efficiently translated into object semantics.
  •     Sensor Fusion and Cognitive Computing Solution for Autonomous Driving (U-M): A reduced computing power system that converts raw sensor inputs into highly compressed “cues” to enhance the accuracy of real-time decision making tasks such as trajectory prediction and multi-object tracking.

Since 2012, U-M has been running the MTRAC advanced transportation program. Over the course of five years, the program received 47 project proposals, funding 17 of them, generating a total of nearly $8 million in follow-on funding. Due to the program’s success, U-M was designated a statewide innovation hub for advanced transportation projects in February 2017.

Funding for the U-M innovation hub projects begins August 1, 2017 and runs through July 31, 2018. The Statewide U-M MTRAC innovation hub transportation program will accept new applications beginning in January 2018.


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