Autonomous Electric Vehicle Donation Will Boost Research Opportunities in Western | WMU News

Contact: Erin Flynn

Kalamazoo, Mich.—While the technology is autonomous, the donation of the Origo Auto-Pod will put Western Michigan University in the driver’s seat for groundbreaking research.

Aurigo International plc, a global leader in transportation technology, donated a four-seater electric autonomous vehicle to the Western Energy Efficient and Autonomous Vehicle (EEAV) Lab, providing students with a proven platform for practical learning and research opportunities.

“We have been working with Aurigo since the first Michigan Mobility Challenge in 2018, where two auto-pods were operated on WMU’s campus in collaboration with several other companies,” says Dr. Zach Asheri, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and EEAV Lab Director. “With this donation, we are able to expand the ongoing efforts at WMU in electric and autonomous vehicle research, education, and technology commercialization.”

“Autonomous technology is expanding rapidly and, if we are going to meet industry potential, we need to build a pipeline of talent,” says David KeeneCEO of Origo International Plc. “This partnership with Western Michigan University is another example of business and academia coming together to explore new solutions, and we are delighted[that]Auto-Pod will bring real-world technology to students’ fingertips.”

New research opportunities will keep Western students at the fore of emerging technologies and set them up for success in the sustainable energy sector.

“It will hopefully accelerate their journey in this area as well as embed our brand and our technology into their way of thinking going forward,” Keene says.

set for success

Western’s EEAV Lab actively strives to achieve sustainable and safe automotive transportation through research and development. Under Asher’s direction, the laboratory has established existing partnerships with industry, government, national laboratories and other universities to develop and commercialize key technologies in this area, including autonomous vehicle infrastructure, adverse weather perception, resilience engineering and energy efficient operating techniques. is of.

With a limited talent pool in the autonomous and electric vehicle space—collectively known as mobility—and the rapid pace at which technology changes, such partnerships are able to rapidly incorporate critical skills into student education and training. manufactures. Western has existing interdisciplinary courses in Electric Vehicle and Autonomous Vehicle Engineering for undergraduate and graduate students to prepare graduates to enter the mobility workforce.

“Western’s commitment to advancing transportation sustainability and safety is demonstrated by our continued research and development in mobility, electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles, and the faculty’s efforts to enhance curriculum offerings,” says Dr. Steve ButtDean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Our goal is to be a leader in the research, education and commercialization of these advances.”

“We believe that such public and private partnerships will lead to widespread adoption of autonomous technology,” says tenil houstonVice President of Strategy and Operations for Origo North America. “Enabling students to gain hands-on experience with our tried and tested platform will provide a strong starting point from which to build and grow.”

The Auto-Pod was on display at the ITS World Congress in Los Angeles in September before taking a 2,150-mile road trip to the Western Campus. Driven by a desire to build a talent pool and raise awareness of this growing industry, Origo International plc has also provided vehicles for the Coventry Transport Museum in the UK and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

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