U-M Invests in Advanced Transportation Technologies


Seven technologies demonstrating high potential to help solve transportation issues are receiving $600,000 in total funding from the University of Michigan’s Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC), a statewide innovation hub program to continue their advancement to the commercial market.

“These teams have made the connection between their research and future transportation systems, and are working hard to get their technology to market,” says Eric Petersen, MTRAC’s program director. “Investing in projects and people will help the state retain leadership in the transportation industry as vehicles become electrified and as autonomous systems are proposed for moving people and goods.”

Five of the technologies will receive a $100,000 grant and two will receive $50,000 with the opportunity to unlock the remaining $50,000 after certain milestones are reached throughout the year.

Projects receiving $100,000 in funding include:

  • High-Frequency RADAR for Automotive Autonomous Application: A sub-millimeter-wave radar system with superior detection resolutions, wide-scanning range and minimal size, weight and power consumption.
  • High-Performance Coatings for Engine Cylinder Bores: A process to deposit diamond-like coatings onto the inner surface of cylinder bores to reduce friction and resultant fuel consumption.
  • Multi-Material 3D Printing: A method which integrates electrical assemblies into components through micro-additive manufacturing.
  • Variable Coupling Wireless Power Transfer System: A wireless power transfer system that achieves high efficiency at a wide range of positions and distances between transmitter and receiver.
  • Your Own Planner: An optimal travel planning search engine producing lower costs at minimal effort for given constraints and preferences.

Enhanced Object Recognition LIDARS for Robotics and Sensor Fusion and Cognitive Computing Solution for Autonomous Driving will also be receiving $50,000 in funding.

U-M has been running the MTRAC Advanced Transportation program since 2012 and has received 47 project proposals, funding 17 of them and generating a total of nearly $8 million in follow-up funding. U-M is one of four universities with an MTRAC program, joining Michigan State University, Michigan Technical University, and Wayne State University. Each university focuses on a different industry, including agriculture biology, advanced applied materials, life sciences, advanced transportation, and biomedical.