University of Michigan professor, former director of Mcity Huei Peng passes away

Huei Peng poses with an autonomous shuttle as director of U-M's autonomous vehicle technology testing facility, Mcity. (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – Longtime professor at the University of Michigan, Huei Peng, passed away on Nov. 17, 2022.

In 1993, Peng joined U-M’s department of mechanical engineering where he became the Roger L. McCarthy Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Between 2016-2021, he served as the director of the university’s autonomous vehicle testing facility and public-private research partnership, Mcity.

According to a release by U-M, Mcity grew to a “full-fledged research collaboration” among the public, private and academic sectors under Peng’s leadership. He oversaw the funding of nearly 90 research projects and the publishing of more than a dozen white papers while at Mcity.

He also launched the Mcity Driverless Shuttle research project which involved a real-time shuttle service on U-M’s North Campus to gauge consumer trust of AV technology.

His research primarily focused on optimal control and adaptive control within transportation and vehicular systems. His most recent research included the design and control of EVs, and automated and connected vehicles.

“Huei’s dedication and work in the mechanical engineering department and at Mcity over the last 30 years were unparalleled, and he always had such a kind presence about him. He will be dearly missed,” said department chair and professor of mechanical engineering Ellen Arruda.

Over the past decade, Peng helped design several military and civilian concept vehicles based on both hydraulic and electric systems.

Between 2011-2016 he served as the US Director of the Department of Energy sponsored Clean Energy Research Center—Clean Vehicle Consortium.

He authored more than 300 publications, including four books, and worked on more than 65 research projects as principal investigator or co-principal investigator. named him among the top 25 aerospace and mechanical engineering scientists in the country. Peng was also a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers.

“Through his leadership and scholarship, Huei made an impact on our campus and in the field of engineering,” dean of Michigan Engineering Alec D. Gallimore said in a release. “He was an innovative researcher and a kind person, and we will miss him greatly.”

The university did not share details about the circumstances of his death. On Dec. 11, Peng will be laid to rest in Taiwan.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.