What Actually Goes On Up On North Campus

Ever wondered what happens inside the engineering buildings on North Campus? You’re not alone – earlier this month, Michigan IT organized a series of tours of the Ford Motor Company Robotics Building and the Wilson Student Team Project Center to find out! The tours gave faculty and staff the opportunity to step away from our desks and into the world of the students who call these buildings their second home. 

Opened in 2021, the Ford Motor Company Robotics Building (FMCRB) houses the Michigan Robotics Program as well as Ford’s mobility research center becoming the first facility to co-locate an industry team. The tour was led by Michigan Robotics undergraduate student, Ted Ivanac, who took attendees around the building to showcase several state-of-the-art testing facilities and labs where students attend classes and work on projects, often alongside industry professionals. One of the first stops on the tour was an indoor fly-zone for autonomous aerial vehicles where students can safely perform test flights in a physically tight environment. Next, attendees saw into a well-equipped testing lab where bi-pedal robots, such as Cassie Blue, undergo rigorous indoor testing including sloped treadmill walking. Making the way along the first floor, Ted led the tour to a garage bay where autonomous vehicles are housed and maintained, labs where classes and student-led teams learn, plan, and create for class projects and competitions, and a CNC maker space with 3D printing, soldering irons, and other shop tools. Outside of the modern facility, robots designed in the FMCRB are tested on various terrains designed by Dr. Matias del Campo, associate professor of architecture in the Taubman College for Architecture and Urban Planning. The Michigan Robotics undergraduate program launched in Fall 2022 – everyone at Michigan IT is excited to see the impact the program’s first graduates will have on the field of robotics!

Come along for the FMCRB tour via the ITS Instagram!

Another building that houses incredible innovation opportunities in the field of engineering is the Wilson Student Team Project Center. Led by Director Chris Gordon, the tour got a firsthand look at the workshops of many competition-winning teams including U-M Electric Boat Team, U-M Human Powered Submarine Team, and the infamous U-M Solar Car Team. Student participants come from all over the university, from the College of Engineering to the Ross School of Business, and often join teams in their freshman year and stay with the same team throughout their time at U-M. The 20,000 square foot facility provides these student teams with space to design, fabricate, and build competition-ready vehicles with many functions of the facility being supported by Michigan IT and ITS services. Student team members are tasked with creating relationships with corporate sponsors, working with industry consultants, managing budgets, and organizing travel for competitions. It was incredible to see the facility where these well-decorated teams innovate and build winning vehicles of all kinds!

Come along for the Wilson Student Team Center Tour on the ITS Instagram!

See what events are coming up on the Michigan IT Website.
Special thanks to Ted and Chris for putting on such incredible tours!