Transportation technology company Aurrigo International has donated a four-seater electric autonomous vehicle called the Auto-Pod to Western Michigan University’s Energy Efficient and Autonomous Vehicle (EEAV) Lab, enabling students to conduct research and benefit from hands-on education with the company’s proven platform.
Having been on display at the ITS World Congress in Los Angeles, California, in September, the Auto-Pod then made the 2,150-mile journey via road to the Western Michigan University campus.
Western’s EEAV Lab carries out research and development work on sustainable and safe automotive transportation solutions. The laboratory is currently partnered with industry, government, national laboratories and other universities for the development and commercialization of autonomous and electric technology. This includes research on autonomous vehicle infrastructure, perception in adverse weather, resilience engineering and energy-efficient operational techniques.
With the autonomous and electric mobility sector expanding rapidly, the partnership is viewed as a crucial element to be able to incorporate key skills in student education and training. At present, the university has interdisciplinary courses on electric vehicle and autonomous engineers for both undergraduates and graduate students who seek to work within the mobility sector.
“We have been working with Aurrigo since the first Michigan Mobility Challenge in 2018, where two Auto-Pods were piloted on WMU’s campus in collaboration with several other companies,” said Dr Zach Asher, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and EEAV Lab director. “With this donation, we are able to expand 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 fulfill the potential of the industry, we need to build a pipeline of talent,” commented David Keene, CEO of Aurrigo International. “This partnership with Western Michigan University is another example of business and academia coming together to explore new solutions, and we are delighted (this) Auto-Pod will bring real-world technology to the fingertips of students.”
“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 curricular offerings,” said Dr Steve Butt, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Our goal is to be a leader in research, education and commercialization of these advances.”