U-M Invests $500K in Transportation Technology Projects


Five technology projects demonstrating the potential to solve challenges in transportation are moving closer to commercialization with a combined $500,000 in funding from the Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan’s research and commercialization program.

“Each of the current, as well as previous, projects address big transportation industry problems,” says Jay Ellis, transportation director for the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program. “This program allows our faculty to engage with the state’s global expertise in transportation space, which in turn helps them identify the best commercial path.”

Each selected project will receive $100,000 from the program, which is managed by Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Selected projects include: a travel search engine designed to create more efficient trip planning; a posture analysis program that can evaluate the risk workers face at dangerous job sites; a technology that allows manufacturers to produce lightweight carbon fiber materials for hybrid textile compositions; R&D of solid state battery capabilities; and the creation of transparent displays for car windows.

U-M is one of four universities with a Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program; others include Michigan Technical University, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University.

“Michigan has a wealth of brainpower to truly impact the state’s future growth,” says Denise Graves, university relations director for the MEDC’s Entrepreneur and Innovation initiative. “We must tap into that brainpower through programs like (Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization) and collaboration at university campuses across the state.”

Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization programs have funded 86 projects, helped develop 13 startup companies, created 38 jobs, secured $23.8 million in follow-on funding, and licensed technology to three Michigan companies to date.