2016 SAE Congress: Innovation stars at 8th annual GAMIC awards

  • 17-Apr-2016 10:18 EDT
Jack Johnson.JPG

Jack Johnson talks about Jolt's technology from the 2016 SAE Tech Hub stage. (For additional photos, click on the grey bar in the upper right corner. All images by Lindsay Brooke.)


Novel technologies from Michigan-based companies were standouts in the 8th annual Global Automotive & Mobility Innovation Challenge (GAMIC). The founders of these winning companies shared their technology and new-business tales from the Tech Hub stage at the 2016 SAE World Congress.

“A lot of ‘pitch’ competitions for entrepreneurs are focused on money. This one is different. It’s in-kind services and a little bit of money to help put the winners in front of decision-makers with a budget and a need,” explained David Stout, the 2016 SAE Detroit Section Chair and GAMIC’s co-founder.

More than 40 companies from around the world vied for GAMIC honors. Finalists in the competition, sponsored by SAE International, NextEnergy, and MI Innovation Alliance, several weeks prior to the awards made their pitches to a judging committee comprised of automotive industry leaders from OEMs and Tier Ones.

This year’s GAMIC winners are: Jolt Energy Storage Technologies in the Connected Vehicles category; Civionics, Inc. in the Advanced Materials, Sensors, and Manufacturing Processes category; IndustryStar in the New Automotive Consumer and Business Opportunities category; and SurClean in the Automotive Innovation category.

Jolt Energy Storage Technologies is a provider of specialized electro-chemical additives that improve the safety, cost, and performance of lithium-ion batteries, according to Jack Johnson. the company’s co-founder and chief engineer. He stressed that Li-ion batteries require a "comfort zone" of operation.

“Too much energy, bad things happen. Too little energy, bad things happen,” Johnson said.

Electronics typically are used to accomplish the needed control, but they can account for  30-50% of the cost of a battery pack, according to Johnson. Jolt’s compound is activated based on voltage, acting as an electro-chemical shunt, a method for capping the voltage, Johnson explained.

Jolt’s product is targeted for a lifespan of more than 10,000 cycles. “We’ve got product ranging from 3.6 volts to as high as 4.5 volts,” Johnson said about the multi-patented product.

IndustryStar is a provider of a patent-pending supply-chain software-as-service platform. “What we found through our research and partnering with various OEMs and suppliers is if you improve communication, collaboration, and visibility, you can can expedite, optimize, and de-risk your supply chain,” said William Crane, the company's founder and CEO. "Our technology is really centered around improving communication, collaboration, visibility, and reducing risk.”

SurClean is a manufacturer of laser technology that selectively removes paint and other surface coatings from many surfaces, including those of aircraft, ships, water towers, and bridges. “This [laser coating removal] equipment is very precise, energy efficient, cost effective, and environmentally friendly,” said Susan Sprentall, founder and CEO of SurClean. 

Civionics is comprehensive wireless monitoring solution that reliably tracks the performance and health of advanced engineering systems that operate in demanding environments. Each GAMIC winner will receive $50,000 worth of business commercialization acceleration services and cash.

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