New NSF IUCRC planning grant at Wayne State tackling electrification and infrastructure research for autonomous and connected vehicles

autonomous vehicle

Wayne State University has announced the formation of the Center for Electric, Connected and Autonomous Technologies for Mobility (eCAT), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) tasked with developing sustainable mobility technologies such as electrification, smart infrastructure, and resilient edge computing systems for autonomous driving.

The IUCRC program supports multiuniversity, industry-sponsored research that allows companies to acquire new technologies. Wayne State partnered with the University of North Texas and Clarkson University to establish eCAT, composed of a diverse group of scientists interested in closing a gap in synergistic research pertaining to electric vehicle design, autonomous systems, V2X communications and real-time edge computing.

"While autonomous vehicle companies focus on prototyping and manufacturing driverless cars, electrification and connectivity technologies can upgrade the industry by allowing vehicles to communicate with each other and with the smart infrastructure to achieve better safety, reliability, infotainment and security with less emission," said Weisong Shi, professor of computer science and the center's director.

Zheng Dong, assistant professor of computer science, leads the education and workforce development aspect of eCAT and serves as the Wayne State site co-director. Co-principal investigators on the planning grant include Jerry Ku, associate professor of mechanical engineering; Caisheng Wang, professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Gene Liao, professor of engineering technology.

In addition to the faculty members, industry liaisons and student research teams from Wayne State and its two partner universities, eCAT also benefits from an industrial advisory board that identifies potential projects. The group comprises high-level executives from OEMs, tier-1 suppliers, startups and IT companies.

"By leveraging the broad range of expertise and enthusiastic support from regional and national automobile companies, next-generation edge computing platforms, leading telecom operators, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies in Michigan, we aim to bring significant contributions to the eCAT," said Shi.

According to the NSF, industry and government organizations pay membership fees to a consortium in order to collectively envision and fund research. At least 90% of member funds are allocated to the direct costs of these fundamental, pre-competitive research projects.

Visit to learn more about the Center for Electric, Connected and Autonomous Technologies for Mobility.

The award number for this National Science Foundation grant is 2113817.

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