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July 24, 2023

MSU and US Army launch new mobility research initiative

Michigan State University and the U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center, or GVSC, launched a new mobility research initiative as part of a five-year research program to advance autonomous ground vehicle research with Central Michigan University and the University of Michigan.

“MSU and its partners are truly driving the future of mobility,” said MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “Today, we celebrate another success story of this long-standing relationship — a $9 million investment for building the next generation of lightweight, all-terrain autonomous ground vehicles — right here on campus.” 

This initiative will build on MSU’s history and leadership in mobility. MSU Mobility research is focused on developing integrated systems of communication and control for automated vehicles and their environments.

“The partnership between MSU and GVSC will conduct critical research that will help ensure the United States is a leader in autonomous vehicle technology for years to come,” said Rep. John Moolenaar in a video message. “I am proud my work on the House Appropriations Committee was able to fund this effort, because it will create good-paying jobs and grow the STEM field in Michigan.”

Another important part of this new initiative is the opportunities for undergraduate researchers, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who will participate in the program.

“This incredible partnership will help our state continue to play a critical leadership role in the future of mobility. Our military, economy and students will all benefit from this innovative work,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow. “I’m excited to see what groundbreaking technologies happen here.”

A few of the priorities for the program this year include developing better stability and control systems for lightweight vehicles on uneven terrain; electric vehicle battery packs that are lightweight, safe and can be used at low temperatures; and antennas and radio frequency electronics for communicating and sensing information within the body of the vehicle. 

“I am so pleased to be able to celebrate this $9 million partnership: the foundation for a five-year effort to build the next generation of lightweight, all-terrain, autonomous vehicles,” said Rep. Elissa Slotkin in a video message. “This is quite literally a celebration of collaboration: collaboration between different levels of government, between different branches of the military and between three stellar Michigan universities.”

The research conducted and technologies developed through this initiative will create the technological edge in autonomous mobility used to ensure national security and strengthen the commercial U.S. automotive industry.

“With the future of warfare being increasingly redefined by the latest technologies, advancing and developing autonomous military ground vehicles will both save lives and allow our service members to complete their missions safely and effectively,” said Sen. Gary Peters, chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee and member of the Armed Services Committee. “I was proud to help pass the federal resources needed to kick-start this research initiative, which will bolster MSU and GVSC’s long-running efforts to take ground vehicle technologies to new heights and keep our military on the cutting-edge.”

This program is a continuation of MSU and GVSC's 30-year research collaboration.

“It is amazing to get so many leaders at one time to highlight the needs of the Army and the many opportunities in front of us,” said David Gorsich, U.S. Army's chief scientist for the GVSC. “This shows the important work being performed at MSU. The cutting-edge work initiated at MSU will eliminate the need for deploying service personnel in the operating theater, thereby saving lives.”

This research will lead to future technologies and future researchers.

“This project will accelerate the development and deployment of multiple technologies by demonstrating proof of concepts on a prototype,” said Mahmood Haq, director of MSU's Composite Vehicle Research Center and co-PI on this initiative. “More importantly, we are creating the future STEM leaders and next-generation workforce in these critical fields that will enable the state and the nation to maintain competitiveness and leadership in this crucial automotive industry.”


By: Emilie Lorditch

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