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Business of IT conference: Transforming the organization and the vehicle

August 29, 2010

UMTRI's third annual Focus on the Future automotive research conference series begins in mid September with an in-depth look at the role of information technology. "The Business of IT: Transforming the Organization and the Vehicle" will take place on Wednesday, September 15 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the U-M Michigan League.

Speakers from last year's information technology (IT) conference discussed the dramatic effects of the automotive recession on IT within their companies. This year's speakers will focus on how the weakened automotive economy is affecting their company's long term IT efforts.

As companies continue their transition from 20th to 21st century technologies and processes, conference speakers will provide insight into what still needs to be accomplished in their home countries and also in their wide ranging global operations. Speakers will also describe the impact that IT is having inside the vehicle in the areas of infotainment, vehicle-to-vehicle safety applications, and autonomous vehicles.

UMTRI automtove analyst Bruce Belzowski will introduce key issues and moderate the conference. Confirmed speakers are listed below.

Transforming and Globalizing the Organization

Raghu Padmanabhan, Director--Process Engineering, General Motors Corporation, will discuss his company's progress in providing functional support for all GM's global entities as well as his work on GM's global PLM process.

Deborah deBoer Henderson, CIO, ArvinMeritor Corporation, will discuss her company's approach to IT management and some of their current initiatives.

Robert Cole, Professor Emeritus, Hass School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, will discuss his research on comparing U.S. and Japanese companies' use of enterprise applications.

Transforming the Vehicle

Tom Schaffnit, President, VII Consortium, will discuss his collaborative efforts among nine automotive manufacturers that focus on the deployment of wireless vehicle-to-vehicle communications for crash avoidance safety.

T.J. Giuli, Research Engineer, Ford Motor Company, will provide insight into the future of in-vehicle infotainment, using his experience with Ford's Infotronics Research & Advanced Engineering team and Ford's American Journey 2.0 in-car connectivity project with students from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Ryan Eustice, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan, will talk about his research on autonomous vehicles, especially on how robots can autonomously navigate and map their environment, recognizing previously visited places much as a human would.

Sponsors for the Business of IT conference include Siemens PLM and Oracle Corporation. To register, see IT conference registration.

Conferences in the Focus on the Future series explore a range of topics important to the future of the auto industry. Upcoming events in the series include the following:

November 10, 2010 (Wednesday): Inside China: Understanding China's Current and Future Automotive Industry.

February 16, 2011 (Wednesday): Automotive Safety: How Far Have We Come and Where Are We Going?

April 20, 2011 (Wednesday): Topic to be determined.

July 13, 2011 (Wednesday): Powertrain Strategies for the 21st Century.

Photo: U-M students involved in Ford's American Journey 2.0 in-car connectivity project stand behind the Ford vehicle that students used to test and program new applications to help model the future of in-car communications. Credit: Ford Motor Company, courtesy of T.J. Giuli.