Automakers urged to collaborate with defense industry

on Jul31

Calley: “What if you didn’t need to put human life at risk in order to get it from here to there?” Photo credit: Greg Horvath

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley believes the auto industry’s advancements are creating an opportunity to collaborate with other industries.

“Autonomous technology, connected vehicles, aerodynamics, fuel efficiency, jointing technologies, new and stronger and lighter alloys — all these different things that the automotive industry, or mobility industry, is so good at — or leads at — are just as important for the aerospace industry,” Calley told an audience at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars on Monday. “Those things are also very translatable into things that the defense industry needs.”

Calley pointed to current industry collaboration among auto companies, as well as with related industries as a way to help advance the connectedness of the supply chain across Michigan and the region.

Calley said that there is an opportunity for collaboration with the national defense industry, specifically when it comes to autonomous vehicles.

The use of autonomous vehicles is key when it comes to the supply chain in military activity, Calley said, noting that if supplies were delivered via an autonomous vehicle on a set route, the human risk would be eliminated. Calley pointed to the number of lives lost overseas during military activity due to dangers in the path of vehicles such as improvised explosive devices.

“What if you didn’t need to put human life at risk in order to get it from here to there? This type of technology makes our life more convenient. It absolutely will save lives overseas,” Calley said.

Calley also said collaboration between the auto industry and defense companies could help accelerate technologies, especially for autonomous vehicles.

The industry is already seeing some collaboration along those lines.

In April, General Motors gave the U.S. Army and its r&d arm, the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, a Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Developed for military use, the vehicle is set to visit several locations across the U.S. to gather feedback from military personnel to gauge the powertrain’s potential use in future vehicles.

The vehicle will also help GM learn more about fuel cell uses as it works toward making a vehicle commercially available around the end of the decade.



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