Gaining traction

An alliance of vehicle manufacturers and research universities, including Auburn University, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Tennessee Tech University, is forming to create a premier research center for vehicle manufacturing. The Southern Alliance for Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing (SAAV) is led by John Evans, professor of industrial and systems engineering.

The mission of SAAV is to provide students with real-world experience conducting experiments and solving problems associated with vehicle manufacturing. An accelerated master’s degree program in engineering management will be offered in conjunction with SAAV, giving participants the credentials and practical experiences to pursue emerging job opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

Manufacturers who join SAAV will provide funding and a source of real-world applications to fuel the SAAV curriculum and research activities. Evans and other SAAV faculty members have held several meetings with potential manufacturing partners and 25 companies are being actively recruited to join SAAV. Additional funding for SAAV is being sought from the National Science Foundation.

The center is expected to kick off in the fall semester.