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Dynamic year: Significant UMTRI milestones characterize 2013

December 16, 2013

Dynamic Year: Significant UMTRI milestones characterize 2013

A look back on the last twelve months reveals a year marked by significant UMTRI achievements in multiple areas of transportation. As 2013 draws to a close, the groundwork has been laid in several areas—from connected vehicles to safe driving behavior—that set the stage for dynamic progress in 2014.

Among the UMTRI highlights in 2013:

Global Symposium on Connected Vehicles and Infrastructure
More than 200 people took part in the first Global Symposium on Connected Vehicles and Infrastructure, held May 14-16, at the University of Michigan. UMTRI hosted the inaugural event in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Transportation, Texas Transportation Institute, and ITS America. The event was so successful that a date for the next symposium has already been set: April 21-23, 2014.

Mobility Transformation Center (MTC)
First announced at the symposium in May, the Mobility Transformation Center represents an unprecedented step forward in realizing the full potential of connected and automated vehicles. One of the first milestones came in October when the U-M Board of Regents approved plans to proceed with the design of a unique test facility simulating a dynamic urban environment to be used in research and testing connected and automated vehicles.

UMTRI and Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) Alliance
An innovative alliance between UMTRI and the Texas Transportation Institute solidified in July when scientists from both institutes met for a day-long summit to outline a research agenda that optimizes the strengths of both organizations.

Center for Advancing Transportation Leadership and Safety (ATLAS)
Exemplifying the UMTRI and TTI collaboration, a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation was awarded to UMTRI in October to establish the ATLAS center, a new center to improve transportation safety. The center will sponsor research, education, and technology transfer activity to find integrated, innovative solutions for transportation safety. Three of its early projects will focus on alcohol-impaired nighttime driving; child safety in cars; and reducing fatalities, injuries and societal costs of heavy-truck crashes.

UMTRI-Toyota Leadership in Transportation Seminar Series
Beginning in 2012 with NHTSA administrator David Strickland, this popular seminar series featuring conversations with global leaders continued in 2013 with Sören Hess, general manager of the CAR 2 CAR Communications Consortium in Europe. Special guests on the calendar in 2014 include Bryant Walker Smith, fellow at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford, on February 13; and Matthew Rizzo, MD, professor of neurology, engineering and public policy at the University of Iowa, on March 13.

These are just some of the many UMTRI accomplishments in 2013 that took place against a backdrop of daily activity related to the UMTRI-led Safety Pilot Model Deployment, as well as multiple faculty promotions, several prestigious staff awards, and the hiring of new scientists in several disciplines. All combine to create a dynamic environment for transportation activities and milestones in 2014.

“As the Safety Pilot continued very successfully, UMTRI was drawn into many new opportunities, as our national and international reputation increased,” said UMTRI director Peter Sweatman. “UMTRI is now a highly sought-after partner for today’s larger deployments of transportation innovation.”

“The Michigan Mobility Transformation Center – nurtured and spun off by UMTRI – is building a research and deployment partnership with a much broader range of companies than we have seen in the past,” added Sweatman. “UMTRI’s stellar reputation was the decisive factor in launching and building MTC. We’re extremely proud of the creation of MTC, which will move into full swing in 2014."