Denso Opens R&D Center At UM

SOUTHFIELD — The Japan-based auto supplier Denso Corp. announced the opening of the Denso R&D Lab at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The company said 12 UM students were selected to help on various research projects being undertaken at the lab. The projects will begin this month and continue throughout the year.

Officials said the lab will focus on new auto safety technologies, including autonomous vehicles, machine learning, and the suite of safety backups known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

“This new lab will provide opportunities for students to conduct research to develop future Automated Drive technologies that will help save lives,” said Doug Patton, executive vice president and CTO at Denso’s North American headquarters in Southfield. “The lab expands Denso’s partnership with the University of Michigan, and extends a master alliance agreement we established in 2012 to sponsor multiple R&D projects.”

The lab is located at the University of Michigan’s North Campus Research Complex, the 2-million-square-foot former pharmaceutical research center that UM took over in 2008. North Campus also includes the UM Mobility Transformation Center and its Mcity autonomous vehicle test track, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, and the University of Michigan College of Engineering.

“As a member of the Mobility Transformation Center’s Leadership Circle and a sponsor of multiple research projects across campus, Denso has been one of the university’s key industrial partners,” said S. Jack Hu, vice president for research at the University of Michigan. “Their new lab on campus will allow us work even more closely to create further opportunities for innovation and education.”

Denso’s lab is a simulation environment with high-speed computing and high-capacity data storage. Simulation is conducted on high-performance computers and mechatronic systems, including an advanced driving simulator. Hardware-in-loop and driving simulators will provide researchers with functional verification of their methods for machine learning for autonomous driving.

Researchers will develop machine learning techniques to support AD systems in recognizing their environment, which helps them to make intelligent and sophisticated automated driving decisions. Researchers will also work on Collaborative Automated Drive, or CoAD. By sharing sensor information through a radio band called  Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC), researchers will study ways to enhance the capabilities of automated driving for CoAD. This technique will increase the perception range of the system – beyond the field of view and line of sight of the on-board sensors.

Researchers will also test safety control algorithms such as forward collision warning, lane-keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure connected driving, and pedestrian detection, among others.

In early December, Denso also announced MDrive, a car sharing study in which University of Michigan-Dearborn students will help shape the future of mobility. With support from Detroit-based NextEnergy, an accelerator of advanced energy and mobility technologies, Denso launched the study to determine what technologies may be needed for a new car-sharing segment. The students will provide feedback about car sharing and offer insights on helpful or unnecessary features in current car models.

Denso employs more than 23,000 people at 30 consolidated companies and affiliates across North America. In the United States alone, Denso employs more than 15,000 people in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Denso’s North American sales totaled $9.9 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016. For more information, go to http://www.densocorp-na.com.

Denso worldwide, based in Kariya, Japan, employs more than 150,000 people and had sales of $40.2 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016. More at http://www.denso.com.

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