Brandmotion, a supplier of forward-looking technology solutions for the automotive aftermarket, last week (27 March) announced its participation in a major initiative to further autonomous driving and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication. The University of Michigan is creating the Mobility Transformation Center, in partnership with government and leading tech companies, as a means to test and develop the infrastructure and in-vehicle components to make self-driving and environment-aware vehicles a reality. Brandmotion will provide logistical support and strategic input to facilitate development for both OEM and aftermarket applications.
Mcity, the nickname for the Mobility Transportation Center (MTC) facility, is just that: a mock city that allows developers to test a fully autonomous driving experience in a real-world environment. With completion scheduled for July 20, the 32-acre facility on U of M’s North Campus will include buildings, streets, highways, elevated roadways and complex intersections to create immersive simulations of on-road scenarios.
“If we are going to be living in a world where vehicles talk to other vehicles, the aftermarket will play a critical role,” said Jeff Varick, president and founder of Brandmotion. “Otherwise, it will take much longer to achieve any kind of critical mass, and that’s what V2V requires. We see it as a very exciting opportunity for our customers, to help drive the adoption rate, and we are very pleased to be able to contribute our unique knowledge of the aftermarket to the goals of the MTC.”
Brandmotion produces a series of Authentic OEM™ driver safety systems and components that seamlessly integrate with factory installed displays, wiring and fixtures, resulting in an enhanced driving experience that rivals factory installed systems. In addition, the company continually invests in innovative products, such as its Qi-based FreedomCharge vehicle-specific wireless charging systems for phones, to allow drivers to benefit from new-car features in their current vehicles. As Mcity will incorporate a series of wireless transceivers—both in vehicles and on road fixtures such as light poles—that enable the communication from vehicle to vehicle and from vehicle to environment, Brandmotion will provide its extensive expertise on the integration of in-vehicle components to work with existing displays, sensors and networked systems in the vehicle.
Brandmotion joins 26 partner companies as participants in the initiative, with a goal to have a viable autonomous network on the streets of southeast Michigan by 2021.
“The technology involved on the path to the autonomous vehicle has far-reaching potential to save lives, improve efficiency and decrease damaging effects on the environment,” continued Varick. “We’re proud to be a Michigan-based company, working closely with such an innovative group of technology leaders in a project that will change the face of roadways in America and beyond.”