NEI Story Quick Facts
Grant: Online Beta System - Phase II and III, AutoHarvest, and AutoHarvest Fiduciary Fee
Grant Amount Total: $887,000
Grant Period: 2/19/2013 - 4/1/2014
- Support and finalize online beta system.
- Provide users with opportunities and resources for entrepreneurial growth and increase commercialization of advanced manufacturing technologies.
To expand a technology takes more than one company. AutoHarvest is a terrific addition to our industry.
- Bill Coughlin, Ford Global Technology
We all know the importance of the auto industry in the development of Detroit. Yet we often forget that in the early 20th century, Detroit was the Silicon Valley of its time–a hotbed for innovations that “put the world on wheels.” Critical inventions like Ford’s moving assembly process and Kettering’s electric starter are hallmarks of this era of innovation.
The legacy of innovation in the auto industry, however, is not a thing of the past. It endures today as the skilled workforce of engineers employed in the industry continuously produces new technologies and intellectual properties.
Unlike the old days, there now is a medium through which these technologies can be shared and commercialized across the industry. AutoHarvest is a social network/online marketplace for innovation in the auto industry. Manufacturers can crowd-source problems and patent holders can showcase their intellectual properties. Essentially, AutoHarvest creates efficiency in the transaction of intellectual properties within the auto industry.
Visteon, a Fortune 500 company located in Van Buren Township in Southeast Michigan, focused on developing the electronics of the future in automobiles. Tim Yerdon constantly asks himself, "what is the future of mobility in the auto industry?"
"The key to innovation is tying people together," says Yerdon. "The best way to do that is to have the proper platforms, one of which is AutoHarvest."
Ford Global Technologies
Bill Coughlin knows all about intellectual property. He heads Ford Global Technologies, a wing of Ford motor Company that manages all of the intellectual properties produced at Ford. Coughlin is also a patent attorney, engineer, and inventor.
"we haven't had a facility like [AutoHarvest] that is a neutral ground for people to post what they want to do and what technologies they have available, and really from a community around that," says Coughlin. "To expand a technology, it often takes more than just one company. That kind of collaborative work needs a third party, and AutoHarvest is going to be a terrific addition to our community to make deals happen."