This year, the North American International Auto Show drew its largest crowd in 12 years. More than 800,000 visitors hoped to experience some of the current and future products and technologies we’ll soon see on the road.
But beyond this banner year for the show and the industry, is an untold story: the automobile is in the midst of significant change, fueled by design and research and development to meet consumer needs and expectations.
Vehicle design and manufacturing has a history of being shaped by the needs and preferences of consumers, but the current pace of change is unprecedented.
“We believe that in the next 10 years, we are going to see more changes in the automobile than we have in the last 100 years,” said Kevin Kerrigan, senior vice president of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation automotive office.
One example is Ford’s aluminum-body 2015 F150 pickup. Its breakthroughs in lightweight technology – a first of its kind – earned the pickup 2015 North American Truck of the Year. The F150’s composite frame cuts roughly 700 pounds off the truck’s weight and increases its fuel efficiency to approximately 26 miles per gallon.
Auto manufacturers are testing and using composite manufacturing as a way to reduce vehicle weight, enable new designs and cut emissions – positioning Michigan as a hotspot for R&D and innovation.
This month, the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) announced the creation of a research lab in Detroit to develop advanced lightweight materials for the automotive and other industries.
This adds to the list of reasons that Michigan will remain the epicenter for the global automotive industry.
More R&D happens in Michigan than in all other states combined
Michigan is the place for R&D activity, testing prototyping and manufacturing for connected vehicles and it’s a place where companies can find support they need.
Of the total U.S. automotive R&D spending, approximately 70 to 80 percent takes place among Michigan’s 375 R&D centers, where 70,000 professionals are employed.
What’s more, Ann Arbor will soon be home to the world’s largest on-road test facility for connected vehicle systems, establishing Ann Arbor and southeast Michigan as a hotspot for automotive technology research.
Michigan will be the place where skilled talent meets opportunity
It will also be the place where job seekers can find opportunity.
Statistics show Michigan ranks number one with auto-related jobs in the nation, and with continued development, these numbers are only expected to grow.
With the Detroit region having the highest concentration of tech jobs in the Midwest and being a leader in automotive-related patents, Michigan will be a mecca for high-growth and exciting job opportunities.
Learn more about the automotive industry office here http://www.michiganbusiness.org/automotive-industry-office/
For more information on talent programs or jobs in Michigan, visit http://www.mitalent.org/