Darrell L. Robinette

Darrell L. Robinette


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  • Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • PhD, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University
  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, Michigan Technological University


Darrell joined the MEEM department in August of 2016 after a nine year career at General Motors in the Global Propulsion Systems group (formerly Powertrain). His first 4 years at GM were spent in Noise and Vibration Center at the Milford Proving grounds working on transmission, driveline and hybrid drive units to reduce NVH, improve refinement and maintain durability through experimental testing and analytical modeling. Next, he spent over 4 years in automatic transmission controls, in a group called Road-to- Lab-to- Math, in which math and powertrain dynamometer based calibration tools were developed and validated, then carried over and implemented into production programs.

Darrell’s last year at GM was spent in the electrification, new products engineering organization, working on the next generation hybrid and electric vehicle propulsion drive units for component integration, NVH and efficiency. Darrell’s research area closely follows his experiences at GM, with an interest in advanced propulsion systems from a design, integration, performance and NVH perspective. His experiences at GM have varied greatly and include drivetrain torsional modeling and testing for torque converter clutch design and integration, energy analysis for selecting the next generation transmission units to match engine and vehicle platforms for 2020/2025 emissions regulations and development of various aspects of 8, 9 and 10 speed planetary automatic transmissions. In the area of transmissions, hybrid drive units and drivelines, Darrell has published 18 peer reviewed journal or conference papers and holds 12 granted US patents and has 3 patent applications under review. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers and serves on the Transmission & Driveline Committee to review papers and organize a session at the World Congress.

In returning to Michigan Tech, Darrell’s objectives are to educate and train engineering students for careers in propulsion system engineering through expanded course offerings in power transfer systems and rotating machinery dynamics as well as analytical or experimental research through the Advanced Power Systems Research Center.

Areas of Expertise

  • Powertrain control
  • Automatic transmissions
  • Drivetrain dynamics
  • Torque converters
  • Hybrid electric vehicle system integration and control

Research Interests

  • Advanced propulsion and power transfer systems
  • Automatic transmission systems design
  • Integration and control
  • Hybrid electric propulsion systems
  • Driveline torsional vibration analysis and testing
  • Rotating machinery NVH
  • Dynamic/digital signal processing
  • Lumped parameter modeling