Michigan Engineering News

Automated vehicle on a track

Mcity moving to College of Engineering, names new director

Two key players in advanced transportation and mobility research at the university are joining forces.

Written by Susan Carney, originally published in The Record.

Henry Liu, professor of civil and environmental engineering, will become director of Mcity when the public-private research partnership joins the College of Engineering from its current home in the Office of the Vice President for Research.

The changes take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Liu, who also is a research professor at the U-M Transportation Research Institute, will succeed Huei Peng, the Roger L. McCarthy Professor of Mechanical Engineering, who is stepping down when his term as Mcity director ends Dec. 31.

Henry Liu standing by a car
Henry Liu, professor of civil and environmental engineering. Photo: Evan Dougherty/Michigan Engineering

“We are excited for Professor Liu to build upon the already strong reputation developed by Professor Peng during his extraordinary six-year tenure as Mcity director,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine.

“We are deeply grateful for his leadership and vision, and although his term as Mcity director will soon conclude, Professor Peng will continue to advance transportation and mobility research through his faculty role in mechanical engineering.”

Mcity brings together industry, government and U-M researchers from a range of disciplines to improve transportation safety, sustainability, and accessibility for the benefit of society. It funds academic research, operates a one-of-a-kind test facility for advanced mobility vehicles and technologies, and works with its partners to test and demonstrate connected and automated vehicles in real-world conditions on the roads of Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan.

Liu has a wealth of administrative experience and expertise in addition to his academic and research accomplishments in mobility, currently serving as director of the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation.

His research focuses on the interface of transportation, automotive engineering and artificial intelligence. Specifically, his scholarly interests concern traffic flow monitoring, modeling and control, as well as testing and evaluation of connected and automated vehicles.

“I’m honored and humbled to have a chance to lead this great organization,” Liu said.

“Mcity has been a leading force in the mobility field and has become synonymous with mobility innovation. I will do my best to work together with our partners in industry and government, as well as the Mcity team, to maintain that lead, and continue to strengthen Mcity’s interdisciplinary initiatives.”

An aerial view of Mcity in Ann Arbor
An aerial view of Mcity in Ann Arbor, MI on July 17, 2015. Photo: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering.

With Mcity’s move to Michigan Engineering, two key players in advanced transportation and mobility research at the university are joining forces, said Alec D. Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor of Engineering, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and professor of aerospace engineering. 

“Being part of Michigan Engineering will bring Mcity greater access to engineering resources, supporting our shared goals of advancing safety, sustainability and accessibility in mobility to serve the common good,” Gallimore said.

“The U-M Office of Research will continue to support Mcity in the ongoing advancement of critical cutting-edge research, and Mcity will see strengthened connections with collaborators across Michigan Engineering, including with Michigan Robotics, UMTRI and the Automotive Research Center.”

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