Wednesday, July 19, 2006

New automotive R&D facility from MG Motors

MG Motors has set-up a new research and development facility for the University of Oklahoma. This could help turn OU into a world-class automotive engineering school reports OU Daily.

Thomas L. Landers, Dean of the College of Engineering said that MG Motors North America Inc. plans to set up shop somewhere on campus this fall and will eventually construct its own facility near the Stephenson Research and Technology Center south of the main campus.

The facility will employ a combination of company engineers, OU faculty, and students with paid assistantships, and there will probably be one student for each full-time engineer.

Chinese automaker Nanjing Automobile Corp., which last year purchased the assets of legendary British sports carmaker MG from a bankruptcy court, announced July 12 that it had picked Oklahoma City as the headquarters for its new MG Motors subsidiary.

The company plans to employ about 550 people in Oklahoma, with some 150 at the Oklahoma City headquarters, 325 at a manufacturing plant in Ardmore, and about 35 at the research facility in Norman. The engineering and research team will require people with a variety of backgrounds and skills.

The facility will also provide work experience and research opportunities for aerospace and mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, industrial engineers, computer scientists and chemical engineers who will work with materials, fuel mixtures and combustion processes.

The OU program with the most direct connection to the auto industry is aerospace and mechanical engineering, and there is a number of Oklahoma University students with an interest in the auto industry. The university has a chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers, which sponsors a racing team.

Only a few professors at OU do automotive research and students interested in the automotive field have had few opportunities to get into the industry so far.

Having an R-and-D facility in OU's backyard will be a huge step forward for the automotive education in the academic institution.


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