PlanetM Mobility Report

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Ford Turns to Ann Arbor as Living Lab for Mobility

Launched earlier this month, Ford Motor Company and the city of Ann Arbor unveiled a data gathering and analysis platform – City Insights – to explore mobility solutions throughout the city.

Ford Mobility Lab in Ann Arbor

The platform offers comprehensive views of safety, parking, transit and an interactive model display of the city with 3D printed buildings and streets that light up to show areas of congestion and provide real-time data. By leveraging this information, the platform allows city planners to visualize their entire mobility ecosystem while helping them explore various solutions before implementing them in the real world.

The initiative – which brought together Ford, MEDC/PlanetM, Ann Arbor SPARK, Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, the Downtown Development Authority and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) – highlights the impact collaborations between the public and private sector will have on next-generation mobility solutions.

KLA Breaks Ground in Ann Arbor

On National Manufacturing Day, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist joined officials from Silicon Valley-based KLA for the ceremonial ground breaking of the company’s new semiconductor R&D center in Ann Arbor.

KLA Ann Arbor Groundbreaking video

The 230,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will be home to nearly 600 new employees over the next five years and helps strengthen the state’s high tech and automotive ecosystem.

With more than 350 North American locations in the running initially, KLA’s investment in Michigan sends a strong signal about not only the advantages the state offers companies looking to grow, but also the growing collaboration between Michigan and Silicon Valley when it comes to advancing new innovations in mobility and technology that will drive future transportation solutions.

Automated Bus Consortium Announce Candidate Pilot Projects Across the U.S.

Hosted by AECOM, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and PlanetM, the Automated Bus Consortium (ABC) convened its private industry forum earlier this month to explore the feasibility of implementing test-pilot automated bus projects across the United States.

AECOM bus on a highway

A full-sized, full-speed bus in a live service environment. Rendering courtesy of AECOM. 

More than 100 attendees from across the nation gathered at the event, including representatives from member agencies, bus manufacturers and technology companies to unveil potential pilot projects and draft specifications for the deployment of full-sized automated, accessible buses.

This first-of-its-kind approach to accelerate the development of automated transit technologies is expected to arrive as early as 2022. To learn more about the ABC pilot projects, visit their website:

Deadline Extended: Apply for PlanetM Match Meetings at AutoMobility LA and CES

PlanetM is hosting match meetings between mobility startups, corporates and investors during both AutoMobility LA and CES. Corporates and investors interested in participating are encouraged to sign up at the below links:

Automobility LA
CES logo 525x350

Final Call for City:One Michigan Central Station Challenge Applications

City:One Michigan Central Station Challenge

The City:One Michigan Central Station Challenge, a collaborative project launched in June between Ford Motor Company, PlanetM and the city of Detroit, offers local residents and businesses the opportunity to suggest ideas and pilots to solve mobility problems surrounding the historic Michigan Central Station. Applications are now being accepted.

Those interested are encouraged to apply here by Oct. 31.

Mobility Resources

In the News

GM Detroit plant would get $3 billion investment to stay open

General Motors has agreed to invest $3 billion in the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant to build electric pickups, vans and battery modules, according to a copy of the proposed UAW contract obtained by Automotive News. The plant, which was scheduled to close in January, would employ 2,225 people at full capacity, GM told the union.

Bollinger unwraps electric B1, B2

Bollinger Motors recently showcased its electric off-road B1 four-door SUV and B2 pickup. The trucks boast impressive design and output features, including the ability to handle up to three feet of water.

Hyundai and Aptiv to set up $4 billion autonomous driving joint venture

The Hyundai Motor Group and Aptiv are set to establish a $4 billion autonomous driving joint venture in which the firms will each have a 50 percent stake. The companies said the joint venture, which will have headquarters in Boston, would focus on advancing the “design, development and commercialization of SAE Level 4 and 5 autonomous technologies.”

Canoo takes the covers off of its debut electric vehicle

The Los Angeles-based startup Canoo has finally unveiled its first model, the eponymously named Canoo. The Canoo designers have departed pretty radically from the traditional designs that other electric vehicle manufacturers have favored, going with something that looks more like a VW Microbus than the sport utility vehicle that Byton is aiming for, or Tesla and Fisker’s sports cars and sedans or Rivian’s electric trucks.

Ford expands self-driving vehicle fleet to Austin

Ford is adding another city to the list of places it’s going to be deploying self-driving vehicles: Austin. The automaker revealed that the Texas city would join Miami-Dade County and Washington, D.C. as the third deployment location for its autonomous vehicle testing and commercial service development. As with its prior roll-outs, Ford will first begin by putting its Fusion Hybrid AV test vehicles, which are powered by Argo AI autonomous driving technology, on Austin roads by the end of November to begin mapping the city. Mapping cars will have a safety driver and an observer on board, and the cars will be collecting data to build the HD maps needed for eventual deployment of pilot commercial services with partners.

Self-driving vehicle startup Zoox has expanded to Las Vegas

Zoox, the autonomous vehicle startup, is expanding to Las Vegas, CTO Jesse Levinson said at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. The startup, which has raised $800 million and has been testing on public roads in San Francisco, said Las Vegas is a target market for its autonomous driving fleet and service. Las Vegas will serve as an anchor market for Zoox. The company plans to test, validate and refine its technology with future plans to launch an autonomous ride-hailing service there, Levinson said. Zoox received permission from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles in early 2019 to drive autonomously on state roads.

Rivian eyes subscriptions for EV trucks

Rivian, the electric- truck startup that keeps attracting support from the industry establishment, is looking to offer a subscription service as part of its factory-direct retail model after it launches next year, said CEO. Subscriptions have emerged as a new model in the luxury sector to give customers access to a range of vehicles for a monthly fee.

Top 10 robotics stories of September 2019

The top 10 most popular robotics stories on The Robot Report were announced late last week, with FarmWise reaching the top of the list. FarmWise Labs Inc., which is building adaptive robots for agriculture, has raised $14.5 million in a Series A round. The company’s stated goal is to provide precise care to each plant for a greater yield, more profits for farmers, and a healthier environment. It has begun with an autonomous weeding robot.

Maserati outlines its electrified and autonomous future

Maserati, one of Fiat Chrysler's Italian luxury marques, is ready to cannonball into an electrified future. The company laid out its plans for its electrification and autonomous strategy. All of the happenings are part of FCA's grander strategy, which it laid out in its most recent five-year plan detailed in 2018. Then, we learned Maserati planned to roll out eight plug-in hybrid models and four electric cars. The company also confirmed the gorgeous Alfieri sports car was headed to production.