PlanetM Mobility Report

  Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Planet M Header

Waymo Expands its Presence in Michigan's Mobility Ecosystem

Waymo announced Tuesday that it would be establishing a manufacturing facility in Southeast Michigan. The company plans to invest $13.6 million, creating up to 400 jobs in the region.

Waymo aims to bring self-driving technology to the everyday consumer to improve the lives, mobility and safety of drivers so it is only natural that they join Michigan’s leading mobility ecosystem, bringing it closer to other manufacturers and OEMs. The company received a Michigan Business Development Program Grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund in support of the expansion.  

Waymo Michigan Expansion

Mobility Projects in Michigan Add Accessible Transportation Options

At the North American International Auto Show, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced four new projects that addresses the mobility needs of seniors, persons with disabilities and veterans in Michigan as part of the $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge.

Michigan Mobility Challenge Announcement at NAIAS

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (center) was joined by Michigan Department of Transportation Director Paul Ajegba (second from left), Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Jeff Mason (second from right), PlanetM Group Vice President Trevor Pawl (right), and disabilities advocate Dr. Kimberly Kennedy (left) of Grand Rapids to announce new mobility projects at the 2019 North American International Auto Show.

  • New Autonomous Mobility Vision for Michigan is an autonomous electric shuttle at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center. 
  • Southeast Michigan Integrated Platform for Paratransit Services is an integrated online booking and trip management platform that can create a “one-click” experience for users of AAATA, DDOT and SMART ADA Paratransit services.
  • Team Grand Rapids  Interurban Transit Partnership utilizes a ride share app for paratransit services in Grand Rapids to improve rider experience by shortening trip duration and reservation lead time.
  • Michigan Universal Vehicle Ecosystem Pilot is a ride-share platform in the central UP that will focus on increasing accessible transportation options, build community and decrease isolation.

The State of Michigan has funded 13 total pilots in urban, rural and suburban communities of varying sizes through this program to address critical transportation gaps.

Wise Systems Named Startup of the Year

PlanetM and Techstars invited 16 mobility startups exhibiting at Automobili-D to pitch in front of an impressive roster of judges during the PlanetM Pitch Competition.  

Wise Systems Startup of the Year

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gillchrist II presents Wise Systems with the Startup of the Year award.

Meet the 2019 Category Winners:

“The annual startup pitch competition is an excellent opportunity for innovative startups to share their technologies and vision with the leading mobility companies and stakeholders. This year’s event was one of the most competitive competitions to date. It brought 17 remarkable mobility startups from around the world to present their business in Detroit in front of some of the top automakers, suppliers and venture capital firms.” -  said Ted Serbinski, managing director of Techstars .

WaveSense Named Best in Show at in PlanetM Awards at AutoMobili-D

For the second year, PlanetM honored enterprises developing innovative mobility-focused technologies and platforms at the PlanetM Awards. A panel of 22 mobility experts reviewed 170 applications from startups and corporations exhibiting at Automobili-D.

PlanetM Awards Winners

The 2019 category winners and "Best in Show" winner WaveSense at the PlanetM Awards at AutoMobili-D.

“It is fitting to recognize the companies that are revolutionizing transportation at the North American International Auto Show because Detroit is well-positioned to drive the mobility marketplace toward a safer, smarter and more accessible future,” said Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist. “We’re proud to honor these companies and their solutions that will lead the charge in this next generation of transportation.”

Congratulations to the 2019 category winners:

More from NAIAS and AutoMobili-D

Visit for more videos, photos, and other highlights from the North American International Auto Show and AutoMobli-D.

Mcity: It's Time to Assess the Safety Performance of Automated Vehicles


The University of Michigan’s Mcity released a whitepaper aimed at increasing the safety of highly automated vehicles (HAVs). According to JD Power, as many as half of American consumers are concerned about the safety of HAVs, especially in light of two fatal accidents in the past year. 

To address this concern and move forward, Mcity created the ABC Test. The three-part test includes accelerated evaluation, behavior competence and corner cases.

Accelerated evaluation focuses on the most common risky situations, while behavior competence puts the vehicle through a series of scenarios that correspond with major crashes. Corner-case testing focuses on situations that test the limits of automated vehicle performance and technology.

Initially, the test will include three accelerated evaluation behaviors, and the 16 behavior competence scenarios for low-speed Level-4 vehicles.

Michigan Technological University Makes Waves at NAIAS 2019

Michigan Tech Autonomous Watercraft

Michigan Technological University’s Marine Autonomous Research Site is in the early stages of perfecting autonomous watercraft travel.  MTU displayed the autonomous boats at Automobili-D earlier this month.

A human or remote control can pilot the boats, equipped with GPS, stereoscopic cameras, nine-axis gyroscope. Once enough data has been collected to predict and recreate skilled human piloting techniques, the team will work to craft a fully self-driving boat.

Submit Your PlanetM Startup Grant Application

PlanetM is still accepting applications for the PlanetM Startup Grant program, which provides mobility startups funds to test, deploy and validate their technologies on Michigan roadways or one of the state’s testing facilities.



Startup Grant Deadlines:

  • PlanetM Pilot Grants: Applications are due for consideration for the second round of Pilot Grants on February 1. Applications for the third and final round are due by June 1. 
  • PlanetM Testing Grants Applications for Testing Grants will be reviewed on a monthly basis until Sept. 2019. Visit the PlanetM website for more information.

Upcoming Mobility Events

Reach out to our PlanetM team at to connect with the people, places and resources dedicated to the evolution of transportation mobility.