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MSU Program Gives Nissan Clear Vision

January 20, 2012

In 2009, Nissan presented the following problem to a group of MSU undergraduate students as part of their senior project in the electrical and computer engineering program:

Once a car is assembled, Nissan employs a trained test driver to assess the quality of every part.  One requirement is that when a car is driving on a straight stretch of road, the steering wheel is also straight, giving the driver clear vision of the speedometer and other dials on the dashboard.  In the past, Nissan had depended on each test driver's perception of whether the steering wheel was straight within one to two degrees.  However, this perception varied from driver to driver and was dependent on human subjectivity.  Nissan knew that the final authority was the customer.  If the customer thought the steering wheel was not straight, they would make a warranty call, thereby lowering the customer's satisfaction, effecting Nissan's reputation and increasing warranty repair costs. 

During their year-long project, the students designed a technology that would measure the straightness of the steering wheel within a tenth of a degree while removing human subjectivity from the test. 

Read the entire article in Pointe Innovation magazine.