The University of Michigan and General Motors have had a long relationship going back years. Since 1998, Collaborative Research Laboratories (CRL) at Michigan has led to significant commercial and academic success for GM, the university, and students. Today they have announced that this collaboration has been extended through 2017.
“We are excited to continue what is a more than 50-year relationship with General Motors,” says Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan, David Munson. “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.”
The new Automotive CRL will create an organizational umbrella structure that initially will focus on research into engine systems and advanced manufacturing. In the engine systems lab, students will use state-of-the-art laser imaging diagnostics and conduct engine simulation studies to explore future efficient and ultra-low emission engines. In the advanced manufacturing lab, the focus will be on materials joining technologies, assembly systems, and simulations to enhance plant floor quality, efficiency, and responsiveness. And in the smart materials lab, researchers will apply technologies to reduce vehicle mass, add functionality, increase design flexibility, and decrease component size and cost.
All programs will fund four fellowships for graduate students and provide support for post-doctoral scholars, research scientists, and faculty.
In 2011, a unique process to ultrasonically weld battery tabs together was developed from CRL’s research. It played a role in allowing the Chevrolet Volt to offer consumers an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery system.