Dearborn’s Ford Partners with East Lansing’s MSU to Develop Vehicle Technology

Ford and MSU have renewed a research and development alliance that will focus on sensors, lightweight materials, autonomous technology, and mobility. // Photograph Courtesy of Michigan State University

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn and Michigan State University in East Lansing have renewed and expanded their research-and-development alliance. The four-year partnership will focus on sensors, lightweight materials, autonomous technology, and mobility.

“Our four-year research alliance with Michigan State has taken our relationship to the next level and has surpassed Ford’s expectations,” says Ed Krause, global manager, external alliances at Ford. “Not only have we been able to deepen relationships with longtime faculty collaborators, we have discovered and engaged new expertise and capability at Michigan State in both expected and unexpected areas.”

Ford and MSU have collaborated on advanced engine, composite materials, and information technology projects in the past.

“No company — no matter how large or vertically integrated — has the internal resources to lead in all important technical areas,” says Krause. “Partnering with leading research universities like Michigan State is an important part of Ford’s strategy to access world-class external talent.”

Ford has invested funds for research on more than 50 projects at MSU since 2014, including in powertrain, materials, and electrification. The new projects will involve MSU faculty and students, as well as Ford researchers.

“This is a leading example of collaboration between industry and academia that demonstrates how MSU partnerships can both advance research and help develop innovative global solutions,” says Charles Hasemann, assistant vice president for innovation and economic development at the MSU Innovation Center.

The center works to bring cutting-edge ideas to the marketplace through innovation, technology transfer, startup support, and business and community partnerships. It turns more than 170 discoveries into patented products and startup businesses each year.

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