TechLab at Mcity is a Company-in-Residence program (company-sponsored technical projects housed at Mcity and the Ann Arbor campus) for early-stage advanced mobility companies in the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) industry through the work of elite and technically-skilled students.

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Capping two semesters of technically-challenging applied engineering and entrepreneurial activities, the 2022 cohort of TechLab at Mcity delivered their final presentations to a packed room of current students, incoming students, CFE and Mcity staff, industry representatives from groups including Hitatchi and J.D. Power, and startups from the 2022 and 2023 cohorts.

Students from the 2022 cohort presented impressive results from 6 technical projects, focusing on a wide array of demonstrations and deployments critical to the wider adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles. These projects included an innovative approach to sensor fusion applied to a class 4 autonomous bus to identify traffic light signals, the development of a pipeline for sensor data to automate the creation of HD maps for simulation, communications of basic safety messages to vulnerable road users through V2X methods, lidar validation at long distances and fusion with camera for extended vision, and working with new labeling algorithms for lidar point clouds. Many of these students have already secured full-time employment in autonomous systems leading firms such as NVIDIA, Argo, Aptiv, and startup KEF Robotics. 

“As I head into my final semester at Michigan, I can attest to the value that TechLab has brought to my educational and professional career. TechLab has been the most rewarding, challenging, and defining experience I’ve had during my three years at the University of Michigan. I have learned so much and I will carry the skills I gained with me through graduate school and beyond.” – Daphne Tsai, ‘23 B.S.E. Computer Science, ADASTEC Team.

“The classes taught me the intricacies of starting a business and gave a fresh perspective on the Autonomous Vehicle industry.” – Niyanta Mehra, ‘23 M.S.E. Robotics, ADASTEC Team.

Also present at the final presentations, delivered at Mcity’s newly renovated auxiliary building, was the incoming 2023 student and startup cohort. More than 150 students applied for 20 open seats in the program, starting in January. Leveraging a series of well-attended information sessions and recruitment events, including the annual Women in ENTRepreneurship event, a diverse and talented pool of students were assessed by CFE staff and 2023 company mentors. Students were admitted to the program based on their passion for developing a career in the CAV industry, their technical talents, and their entrepreneurial acumen. Ultimately, 10 masters students and 10 upperclassmen undergraduate students were selected to lead projects with an impressive set of startups, including two new companies, Retrospect Technologies (Ann Arbor, MI), and Büyütech (Ankara, Turkey).

These students join the TechLab program with a tremendous motivation to contribute to the application and deployment of state-of-the-art technology that has the promise for improving the safety of transportation and economic progress.

“I applied to TechLab because I wanted real life, hands-on experience and I’m looking most forward to meeting the team and diving into the research.” – Anna Nickel, ‘24 B.S.E. Electrical Engineering, Baraja Lidar team.

“I applied to TechLab because I am super interested in the autonomous vehicle industry. TechLab is a very unique program that will enable me to gain industry level experience in a field that I hope to enter after finishing school. It’s crazy to think that I can work at a startup doing really cool stuff and it can count towards my undergraduate degree.” – Ben Rossano, ‘24 B.S.E. Robotics, Gatik AI team.

“TechLab continues to be a magnet for brilliant students that are driven to have a big impact in the world by advancing autonomous vehicle tech,” stated Nick Moroz, Director of Entrepreneurial Practice at the CFE which includes the TechLab program, “This program is special because the instructors, the startups, the staff at Mcity, and especially the students, see that these technological breakthroughs need to be realized at scale to have the positive impact on the safety of pedestrians and motorists that is promised. I’m very proud of what has been accomplished so far and excited for what this next cohort will do.”