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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

Ohio State partners with Honda on seed funding to spur transportation innovations


By David Schwartz
Published: May 14th, 2019

A new program in the partnership between The Ohio State University and Honda R&D Americas is working to nurture the kinds of innovative ideas that will make fast-evolving modes of transportation easier, safer and more environmentally friendly in the future.

“We’re really at an inflection point where things in the world of mobility are changing pretty rapidly,” said Alissa Comella, the university’s co-director of the Honda-Ohio State partnership. “We have the opportunity, by partnering with Honda, to really have a unique vantage point on taking commercial thinking and academic thinking and bringing them together to look at what the future could be.”

As part of the collaboration, Ohio State’s Office of Research hosted a pitch day recently at the newly opened 99P Innovation Laboratory. Research groups from across the university made the case for their transportation-related project.

A panel of engineers, scientists and others from both Honda and Ohio State evaluated those pitches and offered seed funding to five projects. The proposals varied from creating better, more sustainable, high-energy lithium batteries, to building a “smart” roadway that can tell drivers, pedestrians and cyclists what’s happening outside their line of sight, to social work outreach that could improve access to public transportation among the elderly.

The seed funding — $25,000 to each project — will allow teams to begin research and have development updates in time for 99P Lab’s official unveiling this fall.

“99P creates a place for our researchers to stretch their ideas, and to try something they might not have tried before, to improve mobility for decades to come,” said Morley Stone, Ohio State’s senior vice president for research, “and they benefit from the real-world expertise of Honda’s research and development team. It’s a win-win.”

Mike Wiseman, senior director of research at Honda R&D Americas, said this expansion of the partnership is a win-win for Honda, too. “We’ve been investing in student-driven innovation for decades, but we haven’t always had Ohio State principal investigators and other faculty and staff engaged at an essential level,” Wiseman said. “The goal was really to give research leaders a new space for their teams to bring their research to life as working products.”

 “Honda is more than an automaker. We’re a mobility company that’s proud of the fact that we extend beyond automobiles and motorcycles—into robotics and other areas,” said Jonathan Dayka, a Honda spokesman. “We really wanted this collaboration to continue to increase our concept of mobility, not just our development capability.”

The 99P Lab’s “grand opening” will be held this fall.

Source: Ohio State News

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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