Is there a renaissance in US manufacturing? Numbers don’t add up
Sridhar Kota is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan and a board member of the coincidentally named Manufacturing Renaissance, a Chicago-based nonprofit champion of advanced manufacturing. He also served from 2009–12 in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he helped establish the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership and its signature Manufacturing Innovation Institutes.
“We need a plan for what to do with good ideas and how to mature them,” he said, “to create the infrastructure, knowledge and skills so that ideas turn into products and the manufacturing sticks here, rather than invent it here and make it ‘over there.'”
He bemoaned the fact that R&D in the U.S. was responsible for the technology behind solar cells, lithium-ion batteries and flat-panel TVs, though we ceded production of those lucrative markets to overseas manufacturers. Read more
MTC, MCity to collaborate on vehicle automation projects with Saudi University
U-M Engineering News
A new collaborative research center, called the Center of Excellence for Microwave Sensor Technology, has been established between faculty in the College of Engineering and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology(KACST). The Center will be a major site for research in microwave sensor technology, with the first projects focusing on autonomous vehicles and novel approaches to electric vehicle charging.
Researchers involved feel the agreement will be mutually beneficial to the two far-flung institutions. KACST will provide manpower and will collaborate with Michigan faculty and students on their projects. This will give KACST researchers a chance to better understand the ins and outs of advanced research and its execution. In addition, KACST researchers will take courses at Michigan as non-degree seeking students, and short courses will be offered at KACST. Read more
Energy Survey: When gasoline prices fell, most consumers did not change their minds about how much they felt they could pay
The University of Michigan Energy Survey has released its latest results, condensing six quarters of data into a succinct analysis of American consumers’ personal views about energy. This short summary explores attitudes about gasoline and home energy affordability in the context of the past year’s dynamic gasoline prices.
The full results are available here.
Key findings include:
- When gasoline prices dropped over the past year, most American consumers did not change their views on how high the price would have to be before it greatly strains their household budgets.
- Those consumers who are most challenged by fuel costs (about 12% of respondents) do change their views on what they say they can afford when pump prices change.
- Of 3,000 consumers surveyed over six quarters, a clear majority (about 70%) regard $6 per gallon gasoline as unaffordable, while about 40% would find $5 gasoline to be unaffordable.
- Relative to recent pump prices, a 50% price hike would increase by only a few percent the fraction of consumers for whom gasoline costs become a serious strain on their household budgets. Read more