Following an arduous eight-week selection process, seven emerging automotive technology companies will descend upon Spring Hill, Tenn., on May 19 to begin the autoXLR8R program, a 13-week entrepreneurial boot camp focused on bringing high-potential automotive technologies to market.
The list of companies includes six from Tennessee and one from Hong Kong, China. The success that autoXLR8R enjoyed last year helped the program attract a competitive field of applicants from which to assemble this summer’s class.
“As the needs of the automotive industry continue to change and with vehicle technologies constantly evolving, it is our job to deliver applicable solutions,” said program manager Jack Sisk. “The seven companies that we have brought into the autoXLR8R are developing innovative technologies that will directly address immediate needs of auto manufacturers and have the potential to impact how vehicles are designed moving forward.”
The autoXLR8R technologies demonstrate a wide range of expertise and exemplify major trends in car technology today including light-weighting, electrification and connected car technology.
Technologies included in this year’s autoXLR8R are:
-Advanced Measurement System – Computerized laser measuring system that confirms whether or not automotive parts meet standards set by automakers.
-Connected Car Applications – Cyberloop is a software and hardware application that connects to a car’s onboard diagnostics port to add “infotainment” and other features to old and new model cars.
-License Plate Reader – License plate reading technology developed by University of Tennessee Research Foundation which improves upon the current technology by increasing efficiency and accuracy.
- Odor Elimination – Developed by the start-up company Clodico, a powerful and environmentally-friendly odor control and biocide product that has the power to completely eradicate smoke and other odors from cars, thereby restoring the market value of the car.
- Hybrid Energy Generation – New design and technology in which a torque converter can generate electricity to provide auxiliary power for a hybrid or electric vehicles.
- Wireless EV Charging – New technology developed by Oak Ridge National Lab that allows an electric vehicle to be charged wirelessly.
- Light-Weight Plastic – Oak Ridge National Lab technology which uses the complex polymer lignin to produce a light-weight non-petroluem based plastic to be used in making car components.
-Cyberloop, the company that is traveling halfway around the world from Hong Kong to participate in the autoXLR8R, is developing hardware and software that will allow for “infotainment” upgrades as well as maintenance prediction and security information to drivers.
“A company like Cyberloop speaks to the international draw of the autoXLR8R,” said executive director Dan Marcum. “I think we proved last year that our program sets the standard for start-up companies launching automotive technologies into the global marketplace, and that helped us extend our reach for potential applicants.”
Two of the technologies in this year’s cohort were developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The license plate reader technology comes from UT’s Research Foundation (UTRF). autoXLR8R plays an important role in facilitating the commercialization of technologies developed in these leading research institutions. Each will be managed by a talented stable of immersion interns, who will help develop and commercialize the technologies, before ultimately bringing them to market.
autoXLR8R is housed at the former General Motors/Saturn corporate office now known as the Northfield Workforce Development Center. autoXLR8R company founders will receive one-on-one mentorship from auto industry insiders and accomplished entrepreneurs. This mentorship is coupled with a structured curriculum designed to help the young companies navigate obstacles and speed the path to revenue. The curriculum is developed in partnership with Tech 20/20, the Oak Ridge-based venture development organization. Participants will also spend two weeks learning from experts at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) in South Carolina.
All seven companies will gather at the Northfield on Monday, May 19 to officially kick off the accelerator with an Opening Day program. The full day of events will be keynoted by LaunchTN’s Director of Entrepreneurship Jason Denenberg.
Opening Day will also feature an automotive panel led by Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association President Tom Brewer, Georgia Automotive Manufacturer’s Association President Rick Walker, Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association President Ron Davis and CU-ICAR Director of International Business Development Suzanne Dickerson.
“These companies and their technologies have the potential to significantly impact the future of the automotive industry, and it’s vitally important that we connect them with leading industry experts in Tennessee and the entire Southeast region,” said Brewer.