Move U.P.! - Mobility in the Rural Landscape

Mobility is a vast topic spanning multiple disciplines including engineering, computing, robotics, social sciences, humanities, and many more.  Looking forward, how can Michigan Tech contribute towards a future where Mobility is more sustainable, equitable, and best supports the well-being of our region? 

To help us begin to answer these questions, we hosted a series of virtual Mobility events featuring local, regional, and national leaders in mobility, transportation, community leadership, public policy, and economic development to share their unique perspectives on Mobility.  Recordings of the panel discussion events are available below.

Recordings of Past Events:

January 5, 2021, Mobility @ Michigan Tech, “Where are We?” 

MTU Panelists:

  • Bill Buller, Senior Research Scientist, Michigan Tech Research Institute
  • Jeff Naber, Professor, College of Engineering
  • Don Lafreniere, Associate Professor of Geography and GIS, Director of GRF
  • Chelsea Schelly, Associate Professor of Sociology, College of Sciences and Arts
  • Tim Havens, Associate Dean for Research, College of Computing
  • Roman Sidortsov, Assistant Professor of Energy Policy, College of Sciences and Arts

April 6, 2021, "Move U.P."  National Mobility Panel Discussion

National Mobility Panelists:

  • Doug Lynott, Director, Economic Development Integration (EDI), US EDA
  • Catherine Barrett, Chief Counsel, Legislative Director, Senator Gary Peters’ Office
  • Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer for the State of Michigan
  • Marlene Connor, Principal/Manager, Marlene Connor Associates, LLC
  • John Soyring, Investor and Retired IBM Senior Executive
  • John Norquist, former CEO of Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) and former mayor of Milwaukee

April 13, 2021, “Move U.P.” Regional Mobility Panel Discussion

Regional Mobility Panelists

  • Patrick Visser, Chief Commercialization Officer, MTEC SmartZone
  • Eric Waara, Houghton City Manager
  • David Ollila, Co-Founder, 100k ideas (and many others)
  • Marty Fittante, CEO, InvestUP
  • Peter Deppe, Co-Founder and CEO, Kuhmute
  • Wendy Hoffman, Transportation Planner, Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Participant Confirmation Form for tracking Professional Development Hours.

Mobility is the movement of people, goods, and information. 

There are many real-world scenarios where mobility is needed. Interdisciplinary teams at Michigan Tech tackle research challenges in the air, on land, and even underwater.

Unstructured environments are the gray zones of mobility. It's where chaos enters the picture. Michigan Tech is in a remote, snowy region in the Upper Peninsula—our community regularly has to make sense of chaos and a lack of structure, and to some extent, that carries over into our research.

Play Autonomous and Connected Vehicles Hit the Road video
Preview image for Autonomous and Connected Vehicles Hit the Road video

Autonomous and Connected Vehicles Hit the Road

Mobility Research

As a key research area that spans civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, cognitive science, and many more, mobility needs more than traditional paths to move the field forward. Whether under water, above traffic, by rail, or on the road, Michigan Tech takes autonomy to the ends of the Earth. Select the topic links below to discover the researchers that focus in each area.

User Experience (UX) - Fast changing technology calls for innovative solutions to create the best overall meeting point between the highest user satisfaction and technological requirements.

Propulsion Systems - As the world moves towards more efficient and environmentally friendly fuel sources research is needed to discover the best available future. Within the next 10 years a significant shift is expected in which we will see five classes of propulsion systems emerge.

Industry 4.0 - Industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and cognitive computing. Industry 4.0 is commonly referred as the fourth industrial revolution.

Cyber Security - Cyber security protects connected systems, including hardware, software, and data. Protecting vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) is critical.

Advanced Controls & Mechatronics - Advanced Controls and Mechatronics involve the integration of physical systems with electronic digital control.

Data Analytics & Artificial Intelligence - Rapid advances in digitation, data collection, analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning have been reshaping the way society engages with automobiles. As technology continues to evolve, research continues to grow to include a wider section of categories.

Smart Transportation Infrastructure - Smart infrastructure will be an integral part of transportation including roads, bridges traffic lights, parking lots, toll booths, and even more. Communication between vehicles and infrastructure are creating solutions for safety and reduced congestion.

Rural & Cold Weather Environment - Mobility can be severely impacted by rural or cold weather conditions. Dirt and gravel roads, or snow and ice, can significantly affect the performance of a vehicle and its systems. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula provides a natural environment to experiment and test vehicles under the harshest conditions.

Testing and Proving Grounds

Keweenaw Research Center

The Keweenaw Research Center maintains more than 900 acres of proving grounds, including many miles of prepared test tracks. Ride and handling loops, a circular track, an ice rink, a snow-packed area, and a rugged off-road obstacle course all provide the backdrop for research in vehicle mobility.

Play Next-Generation NATO Reference Mobility Model Development - AVT-308 video
Preview image for Next-Generation NATO Reference Mobility Model Development - AVT-308 video

Next-Generation NATO Reference Mobility Model Development - AVT-308

When mobility predictions get it wrong, vehicles become immobilized, putting the soldiers at risk and jeopardizing mission success.

Play Ram Trucks Torture Testing: Extreme Cold video
Preview image for Ram Trucks Torture Testing: Extreme Cold video

Ram Trucks Torture Testing: Extreme Cold

Welcome to Houghton, Michigan—home to subzero temperatures and a regular snowfall averaging 260 inches per year.

Play Michelin Winter Tires vs. All Season Handling with Jim Cantore video
Preview image for Michelin Winter Tires vs. All Season Handling with Jim Cantore video

Michelin Winter Tires vs. All Season Handling with Jim Cantore

The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore visits Michigan Tech's Keweenaw Research Center in Michigan's Upper Peninsula to test winter tire handling against all-season tire handling with Michelin.

Military tank
Unexpected Danger

Marine Autonomy Research Site (MARS)

Autonomous Surface Vessels and Vehicles (ASVs) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) technology has matured in recent years and has become a readily available “off-the-shelf” tool. The number of products and types of vehicles under development continues to grow. Similar to the automotive and trucking industry’s land-based autonomous vehicles and the aviation industry’s aerial drones, much testing is needed to verify associated risks and compliance with real-world conditions, including the interaction with fully crewed vessels, recreational vessels, compliance with existing maritime regulations, and the amount of oversight and control needed for safe and efficient operation. For these reasons, the Smart Ships Coalition announced a Great Lakes test bed area open to all companies, research institutions, government agencies, and others wishing to test autonomous surface and sub-surface vehicles and related technologies. For more MARS details, please visit Smart Ships Coalition.

Marine Autonomy Research Site (MARS)

Smart Ships Coalition logo

The Great Lakes Research Center is a proud member of the Smart Ships Coalition. The coalition is a broad stakeholder community of academic, state and federal agencies, private and non-profit industry, and international organizations who share a common interest in the advancement and application of autonomous technologies operated in marine environments.

Mobility at Michigan Tech