Adient, a global automotive seating supplier with 230 assembly plants in 33 countries, today announced it has become an affiliate member of the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center. The MTC is a research partnership of industry, government, and academic leaders that aims to lay the foundation for a commercially viable system of connected and automated vehicles.
“We are pleased to be a part of this dynamic research group and look forward to working together to address the challenges and opportunities that a world with vehicle connectivity will bring,” says Bruce McDonald, Adient’s chairman and CEO.
Adient was created in 2016 when Johnson Controls’ automotive seating business was spun off as an independent company, and conducts market and consumer research on the needs of autonomous vehicle interiors. The company feels seating will play an important role as drivers and passengers spend more time on non-driving activities.
Adient recently unveiled their AI17 interior seating concept for the level-3 and level-4 autonomous vehicles during the 2017 North American International Auto Show at Detroit’s Cobo Center. Once vehicles can be fully computer-driven, Adient officials believe customers will demand more flexibility from a vehicle’s seating and interior space than ever before.
Adient and MTC’s other affiliates represent a range of sectors that will play a role in shaping a viable system of connected and automated vehicles, including automotive manufacturing, vehicle connection devices, chips, hardware, and insurance, as well as advanced modeling, data acquisition, and intelligent transportation systems.
Affiliates commit $150,000 each over three years to participate in selected MTC working groups and research programs and an annual MTC Congress. They also have access to the MCity proving ground and on-road vehicle test beds. MCity is a 32-acre simulated urban-suburban environment on U-M’s North Campus used for testing connected and automated vehicles and systems before they are tested in real traffic.
MTC is also working with its partners to develop on-road vehicle deployments in Ann Arbor and beyond to serve as test beds for partners to evaluate the effectiveness of various approaches and explore market opportunities.