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General Motors and the University of Michigan have announced an agreement to extend their collaborative automotive research efforts through 2017.

Launched in 1998, Collaborative Research Laboratories (CRL) at the University of Michigan have led to significant commercial and academic success for students, the university and the automaker. In 2011, it yielded a unique process to ultrasonically weld battery tabs together that played a role in enabling the Chevrolet Volt team to offer an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery system.

Peter Lillo and Philipp Schiffmann, ME PhD Students and researchers in Volker Sick's research group, examine an engine system in the Walter E. Lay Auto Laboratory on May 22, 2014. Photo by Joseph Xu The new automotive CRL creates an organizational umbrella structure and initially will focus on research into engine systems and advanced manufacturing. In addition, GM and the University of Michigan have an existing, separate CRL that concentrates on smart material developments.

The programs will fund four fellowships for graduate students and provide support for postdoctoral scholars, research scientists and faculty. The chosen recipients will carry out research on real-world problems that affect GM while enhancing their academic experience at U-M.

“We are excited to continue what is a more than 50-year relationship with General Motors,” said David Munson, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at U-M. “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.”

In the automotive CRL’s engine systems research lab, students will use state-of-the-art laser imaging diagnostics and conduct engine simulation studies to make the most of future, highly efficient engines with ultra-low emissions.

The automotive CRL’s advanced manufacturing lab will focus on materials joining technologies, assembly systems and simulations to enhance plant floor quality, efficiency and responsiveness.

In the smart materials lab, researchers apply technologies to reduce vehicle mass, add functionality, increase design flexibility and decrease component size and cost.

“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,” said Jon Lauckner, GM’s chief technology officer, 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.”

GM has benefited with new technologies and ideas while students have used these experiences to spur career advancements. The work done in the previous CRLs has led students to careers in engineering and academia.

About General Motors Co.

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com

GM contact

Dan Flores
313-418-2374
daniel.flores@gm.com

About Michigan Engineering: The University of Michigan College of Engineering is one of the top engineering schools in the country. Eight academic departments are ranked in the nation's top 10 -- some twice for different programs. Its research budget is one of the largest of any public university. Its faculty and students are making a difference at the frontiers of fields as diverse as nanotechnology, sustainability, healthcare, national security and robotics. They are involved in spacecraft missions across the solar system, and have developed partnerships with automotive industry leaders to transform transportation. Its entrepreneurial culture encourages faculty and students alike to move their innovations beyond the laboratory and into the real world to benefit society. Its alumni base of nearly 70,000 spans the globe.