In today’s new reality of smarter, more connected vehicles, there is no better place to witness rapid transformative innovation than in the mobility sector. With global expertise in autonomy, prototyping and propulsion, Clemson’s automotive engineering department is driving this innovation with Zoran Filipi at the helm.
Located at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), Filipi oversees the department’s 200 graduate students, 17 full-time faculty members and $4M annual research expenditures. The research enterprise is on the path to double over the next several years. As the Timken Endowed Chair in Vehicle System Design, Filipi’s research focuses on alternative and hybrid powertrain systems, advanced internal combustion engine concepts and energy for transportation.
Filipi is also the founding director of the Virtual Prototyping of Ground Systems (VIPR-GS) Center, a new $18M multi-disciplinary research hub focused on simulation tools and methodologies for the rapid design and prototyping of autonomy-enabled off-road vehicles in virtual environments. Key themes include autonomy for unknown and unstructured environments; manned and unmanned teaming; next-generation propulsion and energy systems; and digital engineering. The new center is a result of CU-ICAR’s 12 years of strategic growth and global recognition, said Filipi.
“We have become a player internationally and on the national stage,” Filipi said. “Along the way we have also made a lot of connections and close relationships between faculty here at CU-ICAR and on the main campus. This is one of the reasons why the Ground Vehicle Systems Center believes we can bring significant horsepower to VIPR-GS. We have a reputation and critical mass in key areas, and experimental facilities too. VIPR-GS will help us realize the full potential and reach new heights.”
Filipi previously served as director of the Center for Engineering Excellence through Hybrid Technology at the University of Michigan, as well as the deputy director of the Automotive Research Center, a U.S. Army Center of Excellence for modeling and simulation of ground vehicles. His experience leading breakthrough research for real-world challenges will accelerate the new center’s impact on the state, region and country.
“Part of what makes me very confident is the culture of collaboration we have already established,” he said. “Now with our VIPR-GS center we are going to spread our wings and truly take it to the next level. In addition, we can leverage CU-ICAR’s proven model for building research partnerships and involving industry to accelerate breakthrough innovation. Our existing partners include major OEMs, suppliers and emerging players in the mobility industry. Discussions are already underway for new opportunities in software and automation. Rapid translation from fundamental research to viable technology will make new capabilities available to the army and our partners sooner.”
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