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What's down the road?

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August 09, 2016

It’s five o’clock on a Friday afternoon and you’re headed to your favorite weekend destination.  Wouldn’t it be great if your car could help you arrive sooner, save fuel and avoid road hazards?

Zachary BoltonIt sounds futuristic but Continental AG is demonstrating a smart car navigation system with dynamic mapping monitoring road hazards and traffic signals.

Zach Bolton ’07 mechanical engineering recently demonstrated this for the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars held in Traverse City earlier this month.

Bolton, who has been with Continental for eleven years, is a project manager leading an international team in innovative future technology.

In order to develop this smart system, his multidisciplinary team needs to possess computer engineering, powertrain and engine management along with connectivity.

Bolton credits his ability to lead this creative team to being a track student-athlete at Detroit Mercy.

He quickly realized when he arrived on campus that being a Division I athlete was very competitive.

“I had to learn to find my strengths and weaknesses and adapt to changing situations,” says Bolton.  “In my professional career, I have worked in many areas of the company and am able to quickly adapt to the environment.”

Bolton also credits Detroit Mercy’s small classes and campus environment to experience other engineering disciplines.

“UDM is a small university and it allows for cross-collaboration of projects between engineering disciplines and disciplines outside of engineering,” says Bolton. “Taking part in the inauguration of the IDEAS (interdisciplinary design, entrepreneurship and service) program quickly opened my eyes to commercialization and marketing topics. Of course, my education continued outside of the classroom where I collaborated with other students down the hallway in my dorm – a perk of living on campus all 4 years”

“I am very thankful to my professors who were flexible when an opportunity for an internship came up at Continental in Berlin, Germany,” says Bolton.  “Since UDM is a small school, they made sure that I was able to take advantage of the experience.  I doubt whether a larger university would have been so accommodating.”

In addition to being a student-athlete at Detroit Mercy, Bolton was inducted into Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society.

The College of Engineering & Science is committed to preparing students for professional careers in a multidisciplinary world with an entrepreneurial mindset and will be dedicating the new Center for Automotive Systems Engineering Education laboratory this Fall.

Continental plans to release the dynamic smart mapping system called e-Horizon in 2018 or 2019.

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