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PlanetM Awards $450,000 in Grants to Mobility-Focused Startups, Including 2 New to Michigan

Michigan Business Network
August 27, 2019 11:00 AM

Planet M logo

by Kurt Nagl


  • U.K., NYC companies to enter Michigan market
  • Carpooling, pedestrian safety among focuses of startups
  • This is the third round of mobility grants for PlanetM

A U.K.-based self-driving tech company and New York City-based carpool business are among the six startups receiving a portion of $450,000 in grants from Michigan's mobility arm.

The grants, administered through PlanetM, are awarded to address mobility and transportation issues affecting the state. This is the agency's third round of mobility grants, according to a Wednesday news release.

U.K.-based Propelmee, which won $100,000, is targeting Michigan for its first location outside of Britain, the release said. The company takes an "industry-first approach" to autonomous driving, and unlike many other companies in the space, it does not rely on 3-D high definition mapping.

Zain Khawaja"We chose Michigan as the ideal spot to demonstrate our technology on public roads because of the fantastic support from local government and forward-looking initiatives to promote the development of advanced mobility technologies," Zain Khawaja, CEO and founder of the startup, said in the release. "We especially look forward to tackling the challenging winter driving conditions on Michigan highways, and working towards developing new partnerships with the local automotive industry."

"We are pleased PlanetM is undertaking efforts to help facilitate integrating UAS as the aerial component within Michigan's mobility initiative, further solidifying and elevating Michigan's leadership in mobility," Aveopt CEO Art Kahn said in the release.

New York City-based GoKid won $90,000 and plans to bring its carpool service to Michigan schools. Its mobile app provides optimized routing, in-app texting, calendar syncing and automatic alerts. The startup will be working with TechTown Detroit to launch its Michigan pilot later this month.

Other winners are:

  • Intvo, Ann Arbor ($50,000): Develops software that detects and predicts pedestrian behavior. The company intends to partner with the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute to deploy their technology in Ann Arbor.
  • Aerotronic, Detroit ($50,000): Works with Detroit-based DTE Energy Co. to pilot remote sensing technology that uses machine learning.
  • AKTV8 LLC, Green Oak Township ($50,000): Provides electronic suspension solutions to improve ride comfort, safety and handling.

PlanetM's previous batch of grants included $100,000 for a drug delivery robot at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn.

Requests for more details were left with the company Wednesday.

The other $100,000 winner is Traverse City-based Aveopt Inc., which develops software for the unmanned aerial systems market.


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