This month we saw the momentum in Michigan’s leadership in mobility continue to grow with major announcements from Ford Motor Company on both sides of the state and a fleet of autonomous shuttles deploying in Detroit. Our leadership on the global level was also on display during an MOU signing at the American Center for Mobility with international proving grounds from Sweden and the Republic of Korea.
Earlier this week Plug and Play – the world’s largest global innovation platform – was in Detroit. The energy in the room was tremendous, and all of us at PlanetM were thrilled with the opportunity to work with Plug and Play to showcase Michigan’s robust mobility ecosystem and roll out the welcome mat for a possible future Plug and Play presence in Detroit.
PlanetM will continue partnering and supporting innovative opportunities like Plug and Play and the City of Tomorrow Challenge in Grand Rapids. It is not enough to be ahead of the curve, we need to define the curve. That will happen one person, one family, one bus stop, one city at a time.
Trevor Pawl, Group Vice President, PlanetM
Plug and Play Detroit Summit
PlanetM partnered with Plug and Play for a matchmaking summit in Detroit earlier this week. More than 400 attendees, including Gov. Rick Snyder, representatives from national Plug and Play and Michigan-based startups, corporations, and numerous educational institutions and PlanetM partners attended to present pitches, hold one-on-one meetings, conduct demonstrations and build connections.
Detroit was a natural choice for an event, given the city’s reputation as a leader in transportation innovation. During the event, Plug and Play announced it was considering Detroit for a future office.
To learn more, check out this Mobility Live presented by PlanetM from the event.
Grand Rapids, Ford Motor Company and PlanetM Launch City of Tomorrow Challenge
As urban populations surge and new technologies emerge, the ways people move around cities are changing. Earlier this month, Grand Rapids, Ford Motor Company and PlanetM launched the Grand Rapids City of Tomorrow Challenge – a crowdsourcing platform for residents, businesses and community groups to propose and pilot solutions that improve mobility in Grand Rapids.
The eight-month program is a crowdsourcing platform for residents, businesses and community groups to share ideas and pilot solutions that improve how people get around in the city and move toward a more holistic approach to transportation. By working with the community and local businesses to address transportation gaps, Grand Rapids can ensure that the solutions provide real benefits to its residents and improve the overall quality of life for those who live, work and play in the community.
Photo: John Kwant, VP, Ford City Solutions announces the Grand Rapids City of Tomorrow Challenge
“What may work for one city might not work for another,” said John Kwant, vice president, Ford City Solutions. “Grand Rapids has its own unique needs, and it understands how seeking out new ideas to complement existing transportation systems can aid its effort to become a more accessible, walkable city. The City of Tomorrow Challenge will deliver that.”
Residents will have an opportunity to submit their stories, insights and concerns around mobility through July 23, when the application period opens for solutions to improve the way people move around Grand Rapids. In October, semifinalists will be selected to create prototypes for the chance at winning up to $100,000 to demonstrate how it can address transportation needs with a tangible solution.
Grand Rapids joined Pittsburgh and Miami as one of three cities in the nation chosen by Ford to participate in the City of Tomorrow Challenge.
Ford's Plan for Michigan Central Station
Ford recently announced its purchase of Detroit’s iconic Michigan Central Station in Corktown.
The station will be transformed into the company’s hub for autonomous and electric vehicles, as well as urban mobility solutions including smart technologies, connected vehicles, roads, parking and public transit.
Artist rendering of a revitalized Michigan Central Station courtesy of Ford Motor Company
The development of Michigan Central Station, in conjunction with Ford’s purchase of additional space in Corktown, will play a crucial role in how the company learns about urban areas, their challenges and revitalizing the city as they develop new technologies. Ford is in the process of evolving its Transportation Mobility Cloud, a platform that manages information flow and transactions between different services – to help cities optimize their various modes of transit, further pushing Michigan to the forefront in automotive technologies.
May Mobility Launches Autonomous Shuttles in Detroit
Ann Arbor-based startup May Mobility has launched a six-shuttle self-driving fleet for Bedrock Detroit employees. The goal is to provide better transportation services to employees while simultaneously serving as a test for rollouts in other cities.
The May Mobility Shuttle in downtown Detroit
The route will run from 5 a.m. to midnight on weekdays, shuttling team members along a one-mile route in the central business district, with a driver behind the wheel at all times. The shuttles, made in Troy by Magna, were first tested on Detroit’s streets in October of last year.
American Center for Mobility Establishes Partnership with International Proving Grounds
The American Center for Mobility recently announced a partnership with AstaZero AB of Sweden and K-City of Republic of Korea to establish globally harmonized approaches for the development of connected and automated vehicles CAVs in test environments. The Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research for AVs – NTU (CETRAN) in Singapore will also be a participant in partnership activities.
Representatives were on hand at ACM on June 26 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to promote the sharing of cutting-edge testing scenarios, safety methods and physical validation of CAV technologies.
MOU signing at the American Center for Mobility (ACM). Photo courtesy of ACM.
As part of the MOU, participants will meet on a semi-annual basis to exchange testing updates, and address areas of mutual concern related to risk management, deployment environments and data information tools.
"Michigan is leading the next revolution in transportation by creating a robust automotive ecosystem through strategic collaborations and engaging partners from across the globe," said Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.