The first startup to spin out of Oakland University wants to make your vehicle safer by making its parts disengage during catastrophic accidents.
Fulcrum Engineering is developing technology that enables structural joints in a vehicles to decouple during big accidents. The idea is the force of the accident is displaced to better protect the motorists.
"We have shown we can reduce the force that is felt by the occupants of the vehicle by 60 percent," says Michael Latcha, president of Fulcrum Engineering.
Latcha is also an associate professor at Oakland University. He discovered the idea for the technology when trying to figure out ways to protect military vehicles from IED explosions. He found that if things like the engine or transmission were able to decouple during an explosion, then the force of the blast would also be displaced and better protect the people inside the vehicle.
"All your left with is the shell of the vehicle protecting the occupants," Latcha says.
Fulcrum Engineering is trying to commercialize that technology for use in everyday vehicles like sedans and work trucks. The idea is that only major accidents would enable the decoupling of the structural joints, not fender benders.
The Rochester-based startup launched last November. It made the finals of the Global Automotive Innovation Challenge
and is currently working to license its technology to automotive suppliers.
Source: Michael Latcha, president of Fulcrum Engineering
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.