GM, U-M Continue Research Collaborative through 2017

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General Motors Co. and the University of Michigan will continue their collaborative automotive research through 2017, the organizations announced today.

“We are excited to continue what is a more than 50-year relationship with General Motors,” says David Munson, U-M’s dean of engineering. “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 Collaborative Research Laboratories at U-M — which funds fellowships for graduate students and provides support for postdoctoral scholars, research scientists, and faculty researching real-world problems affecting General Motors — will focus its research on engine systems and advanced manufacturing, Munson says.

As part of the program, students will use laser imaging diagnostics and conduct engine simulation studies to make the most of future, highly efficient engines with ultra-low emissions. Researchers will also apply technologies to reduce vehicle mass, add functionality, increase design flexibility, and decrease component size and cost.

The Collaborative Research Laboratories, which first launched in 1998, has resulted in past achievements including a process to ultrasonically weld battery tabs together, which played a role in enabling the Chevrolet Volt team to offer an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery system.

“GM’s relationship with the University of Michigan over the years has provided benefits to the company because these young minds, who bring a fresh perspective, carry out research on real-world issues that impact GM’s vehicle innovation, design and manufacturing operations,” says Jon Lauckner, GM’s CTO, vice president of global R&D, and president of GM Ventures. “We expect more great things to come from our work with the University of Michigan.”

In related news, GM finished first in overall industry patent filings for the 11th consecutive quarter, according to the Patent Board.

Additionally, GM now leads all companies in total U.S. clean energy patents granted since 2002, according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index, a third-party monitor of intellectual property involving clean technologies.

“Patents are an indicator of the potential for the GM enterprise to innovate,” Lauckner says. “Thriving companies have a track record of creating and commercializing innovation, and we are striving every day to discover technological breakthroughs that create tangible benefits for our customers around the globe.”

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