Detroit’s Wayne State To Open Center for Advanced Mobility

By Chad Elmore08 August 2019

Wayne State University and the Michigan Mobility Institute have announced the creation of the Center for Advanced Mobility at Wayne State University in Detroit. The new center will expand on the College of Engineering’s current cyber-physical systems programs. Plans include a broader set of degrees and certificates focused on autonomous driving, connectivity, smart infrastructure and electrification. Combined, they represent the world’s first holistic, advanced mobility curriculum, said Wayne State. Students will have the opportunity to enroll in offerings for autonomous driving and new courses that provide an overview of mobility fundamentals for engineers. The college also expects to offer a new Master of Science in Robotics for Fall 2020.

“This will be a leading global center for the future of mobility,” said Farshad Fotouhi, dean of the Wayne State College of Engineering and Computer Science Professor. “The Center for Advanced Mobility will be the epicenter for academic and startup activity in the mobility sector for students, researchers and global corporate partners in Detroit.”

The Center for Advanced Mobility will leverage Wayne State University’s recently acquired Industry Innovation Center, a 45,000 square foot facility in the TechTown neighborhood at the heart of the Detroit Urban Solutions Innovation District. The center will be used as a laboratory and for demonstrations as well as a planned speaker series to kick off this fall.

“By placing students and industry professionals at the center of this curriculum design, we know that these programs will meet their needs as they begin or transition into mobility careers,” said Jessica Robinson, executive director of the Michigan Mobility Institute. “We conducted hours of additional interviews with startups and established industry professionals to map career paths and learning gaps. Employers are eager for mobility engineers who are comfortable with new approaches to problem solving and have hands on experience with the latest technology.”

Earlier this year, research from Boston Consulting Group and the Detroit Mobility Lab, the latter Michigan Mobility Institute’s sister organization, found that the national demand for engineering graduates with the required skills for mobility careers could be up to six times greater than the expected supply. Autonomous driving, connectivity and electrification, the research found, will help create more than 100,000 industry jobs in the next decade, including up to 30,000 jobs for engineers with degrees based in computer-related subjects.

“This announcement represents something of immense consequence: the creation of a world leading center for mobility in the heart of Detroit by institutions and leaders who call Detroit home,” said Chris Thomas, president and co-founder of the Detroit Mobility Lab. “Graduates who hail from communities around the State of Michigan and around the world will begin their journey here in Detroit in this world-leading center of mobility excellence.”

The Detroit Mobility Lab has said its goal is to help Detroit become one of the world’s foremost future mobility ecosystems. The Michigan Mobility Institute, a Detroit Mobility Lab initiative, will focus on educating professionals and tradespeople within artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity, and other fields that will be vital to Detroit’s relevance as a global center for future mobility.

The organization has said that its collaboration with Wayne State represents a chance to bring mobility education to a diverse learning and business community and build a world-leading institute in the City of Detroit.

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