Open Innovation Contest Yields Innovative Automotive Solutions
A fast and precise automated laser coating removal solution that can differentiate between coating layers is one of four winners at an annual automotive and mobility open innovation contest.
MI Innovation Alliance/SAE International/NextEnergy, United States
Open innovation challenges provide a shortcut to the lengthy process inherent in large organizations of getting an idea off the drawing board and into the marketplace. They can bring new innovations to the fore in a rapidly accelerated time frame and have been used for hundreds of years to spur innovators to new heights. They can generate many diverse ideas from an ecosystem of potential innovators with different backgrounds, talents and skill sets.
Advances in nanotechnology, aeronautics and artificial intelligence are just a few of the many successful outcomes of innovation contests.
The Global Automotive and Mobility Innovation Challenge (GAMAIC) is an annual open innovation competition that seeks to bring new innovations to the automotive and mobility industry in truncated time frames.
“The competition is designed to identify innovative companies and cultivate new technologies and solutions for the automotive industry,” said David Stout, SAE International board of directors and co-founder of GAIC. Submissions had to be based on hardware or software for vehicles, vehicle design process aids or vehicle production enablers.
The eighth iteration of the open innovation contest took place in 2016 and saw more than 40 teams from around the world take part. They were whittled down to nine finalists who took part in a live pitching event at the SAE World Congress in Detroit. Their innovations were assessed by a judging committee made up of industry leaders who selected one winner in each of four different categories.
The winners were:
Category one - connected vehicles: Jolt Energy Storage Technologies LLC from Holland were the winners in this category for a chemistry-based idea that improves the safety and performance of lithium ion batteries as well as lowering their cost. And all this without additional investment by battery cell manufacturers.
Category two - advanced materials, sensors, and manufacturing processes: the winner was Ann Arbor-based Civionics for a wireless monitoring solution that tracks the performance and health of advanced engineering systems that operate in demanding environments.
Category three - new automotive consumer and business opportunities: Ann Arbor-based IndustryStar LLC picked up this award for their patent-pending supply chain software-as-a-service platform. This is designed to expediate, optimize and de-risk supply chains.
Category four - automotive innovation: this category was won by Wixom-based SurClean for an energy-efficient, cost-effective and precise laser technology that can selectively remove paint and other coatings from many surfaces, such as those of aircraft, ships and bridges. According to the company, its laser system is sixteen times faster than chemicals and less labor intensive. It also says it is more precise, with onboard controls that allow it to differentiate between coating layers and adjust processes accordingly.
The Next Steps
To help with the realization of their novel concepts as well as commercialization and growth of their businesses, each winner received $50,000 worth of business commercialization acceleration services and cash.
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