PlanetM Mobility Report

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

Planet M Header

Congratulations to the Latest NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge Providers: Dataspeed and FEV

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II announces winners in the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II (second from left) joined Paul Fleck (left), founder and CEO of Dataspeed, Paul Ajegba (far right), MDOT Director of Transportation, and Jeff Mason (second from right), CEO of the MEDC earlier this week to announce Dataspeed and FEV as the final two providers of the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge.

Dataspeed and FEV will be providing revolutionary AV technology demonstrations servicing routes from the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to downtown Detroit during the revamped auto show in June 2020.

The two airport route providers chosen for the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge represent Michigan’s drive for innovation with support from partners, local stakeholders, academic institutions and tech startups.

Dataspeed logo

Dataspeed will be providing an accessible, automated shuttle service that will navigate through the Motor City at its busiest time of year. The company has an AM General MV-1 platform, the only commercial vehicle platform designed and built specifically for wheelchair accessibility from the ground up.

FEV logo

FEV will be offering an autonomous experience using four hybrid-electric Kia Niros and the latest autonomous control technology, including the capability to control the vehicles from a remote location.

The future of mobility is being defined by companies like Dataspeed and FEV, and through collaborative public-private partnerships like the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge, technology companies continue turning to Michigan to bring their innovations to life.

Michigan's FCA Expansion Named 2019 Deal of the Year by Business Facilities

FCA Rendering

Rendering of the new Mack Avenue Assembly Complex courtesy of FCA.

Business Facilities magazine recently awarded the MEDC the 2019 Deal of the Year Gold Award for the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) expansion. The generational project includes a new $4.5-billion Jeep assembly plant in Detroit and production expansions at four other Michigan plants that will bring more than 15,000 direct and indirect new jobs to the region over the next three decades.

The expansion will also work on building fully battery-electric models in the future. Overall, the project represents the largest automotive assembly plant deal in the U.S. in a decade and is the first new automotive assembly plant in Detroit in more than 30 years.

This announcement builds on similar investment announcements made by major automakers within the last 12 months, helping to further solidify Michigan’s global mobility leadership and the power of the state’s automotive manufacturing capabilities.

FCA Joins Plug and Play in the Motor City

Plug and Play logo

FCA announced its partnership with Plug and Play, a global innovation platform that connects the best technology startups and the world’s largest corporations, and the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) to bring a new innovation hub to downtown Detroit this summer.

Plug and Play Detroit, powered by AmplifyD, will provide access to an ecosystem consisting of hundreds of technology startups, with an emphasis on those owned by women and minorities. Resources, mentoring, financing, and physical space to research and develop future mobility technology will be accessible to participating entrepreneurs. 

This announcement builds on a strong relationship between Plug and Play and PlanetM, including the Plug and Play Detroit Summit, held in 2018 in partnership with PlanetM and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

So Long, Sin City: MEDC, PlanetM Mark Another Successful Year at CES 2020

The state of Michigan put its culture of innovation on display in Las Vegas last week attending the annual International CES, one of the largest technology-focused trade shows in the world, to connect with startups, entrepreneurs and innovators from around the globe. 

Lt. Gov. Gilchrist at CES

Among the Michigan delegation in attendance was Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, who made the case for continued tech and automotive investment in Michigan at the show. During two days at CES, the Lt. Governor met with a wide variety of companies and executives to strengthen the foundation for continued investment in the state by tech and automotive-focused companies, as well as solidify Michigan’s continued global leadership in mobility and transportation innovation. Michigan was highlighted as an Innovation Champion by Consumer Technology Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro during opening remarks for CES.

Michigan also welcomed 150 new customers and potential partners for one-on-one match meetings where startups, suppliers and corporate businesses paired up to pitch ideas, connect and create global business leads for Michigan companies.

Grants for EV Chargers Now Available

Electric Vehicle charging in downtown Detroit

Last month, The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced that public and private organizations are now eligible to apply for grant(s) of up to $70,000 for the cost of installing direct current fast chargers for electric vehicles (EVs).

The announcement comes on the heels of Project Kinetic’s ChargeD initiative announced last summer, led by DTE and supported by the City of Detroit, PlanetM, General Motors and Blue Energy, to deploy four fast chargers in Beacon Park (pictured above) – the first of its kind in the city. The goal of this program and future EV charger infrastructure deployment is to improve air quality, reduce vehicle emissions and protect public health and the environment, all while reaching a new level of mobility for the state of Michigan.

Meet Murphy!

May Mobility Murphy shuttle

May Mobility's "Murphy" shuttle in Grand Rapids. Photo courtesy of May Mobility.

Ann Arbor-based May Mobility, a company that uses technology to create a better, cleaner and more accessible way to get around, deployed a first-of-its-kind wheelchair accessible shuttle on its Grand Rapids route. The "Murphy" shuttle, equipped with a ramp that automatically extends and retracts with the push of a button, has a crash-tested wheelchair restraint system and enough space for a service animal companion. Murphy is among the first May Mobility shuttles to bring the autonomous vehicle revolution to wheelchair users.

Murphy is the culmination of months of work to improve earlier versions of the wheelchair-accessible shuttles, including McHale and Mercy.

Read more about Murphy’s journey here.

Apply Now: 3rd Annual PlanetM Awards at AutoMobili-D

PlanetM Awards winners

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and PlanetM's Amanda Roraff congratulate winners of the 2019 PlanetM Awards. Submissions for the 2020 PlanetM Awards are now open.

For the third consecutive year, PlanetM is partnering with the North American International Auto Show’s (NAIAS) mobility showcase, AutoMobili-D, for the PlanetM Awards, which will take place on June 10. The PlanetM Awards will further extend support for leading mobility enterprises by honoring those developing critical industry advancements across several categories, including Autonomous Driving, Connected Car, eMobility, Mobility Services and Smart Cities. In addition to the annual awards, PlanetM will also announce a Startup of the Year award from the exhibiting startups at the show, which will be presented at the awards ceremony on June 10.

Award submissions are now open and will be accepted through April 30, with category winners announced in May to compete for the coveted PlanetM Best In Show Award. For additional questions regarding the PlanetM Awards, please reach out to

Interested in speaking at AutoMobili-D?

NAIAS is seeking automotive and mobility leaders to apply as keynote presenters or panelists for the reimagined AutoMobili-D, Powered by PlanetM, in June 2020. Visit and complete the application by March 2, 2020; applicants will be notified by mid-March.

Registration open: 2020 MichAuto Summit

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, industry leaders and stakeholders will gather to address key industry issues, provide program updates and release MICHauto's latest edition of the Michigan is Automobility report. Interested in joining? Sign up here.

Read the latest PlanetM Whitepaper

Project Kinetic: Making Inclusive Mobility a Reality in Detroit and Michigan

Upcoming Events

  • March 13-22: SXSW (Austin)
  • May 18-21: EcoMotion Week (Tel Aviv)
  • June 7-20: NAIAS (Detroit)
  • June 9-11: AutoMobili-D (Detroit)

In The News

Michigan recognized as Innovation Champion by Consumer Technology Association

With 2019 closing out as one of the best years for automotive, advanced manufacturing and high tech job creation in the state in more than a decade, Michigan’s continued economic growth was the focus of Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist’s participation this week at CES, one of the largest technology-focused trade shows in the world each year. During two days at CES, the Lt. Governor met with a wide variety of companies and executives to strengthen the foundation for continued investment in the state by tech and automotive-focused companies, as well as solidify Michigan’s continued global leadership in mobility and transportation innovation. Michigan was highlighted as an Innovation Champion by Consumer Technology Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro during opening remarks for CES.

Uber and Hyundai Unveil Flying Car Model for Future Air Taxi Service

Uber Technologies Inc. is working on a flying car with Hyundai Motor Co., the first automaker to buy into Uber’s dream for a network of air taxis dotting the skies of major cities. The two companies outlined their partnership Monday at the CES technology conference and plan to show off a full-scale model of the vehicle this week on the trade show floor in Las Vegas. Hyundai’s aerial taxi would be able to take off and land vertically, accommodate four passengers and cruise at up to 200 miles per hour. It would be fully electric with a range of 60 miles.

Toyota will transform a 175-acre site in Japan into a ‘prototype city of the future’

Toyota wants to give new meaning to the term “company town.” The Japanese auto giant said it will transform the 175-acre site of a former car factory in Japan into a “prototype city of the future” where it can test autonomous vehicles, innovative street design, smart home technology, robotics, and new mobility products on a population of real people who would live there full-time. The site, which is located at the base of Mount Fuji, will be designed by famed Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. It will house up to 2,000 people, including Toyota employees and their families, and it will be powered by the company’s hydrogen fuel cell technology. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said at CES that the company expects to break ground at the end of 2021.

Sony electric car stuns CES, designed as connected tech showcase

Sony took Las Vegas by surprise on Monday when it used its CES press conference to debut a fully-baked concept car. Built to showcase and test its new connected car platform, Vision-S, the electric car is a prototype and isn't necessarily supposed to be an indication of Sony's ambitions to sell its own cars, at least not anytime soon. The car was built by Sony's AI and robotics team -- the same crew that makes the company's cute robotic dog Aibo. The concept doesn't even have a name just yet (its code name was Safety Cocoon), although the Japanese company says it has been fully road tested. According to Sony, this is to ensure the vehicle and its platform Vision-S will comply with applicable safety regulations.

Michigan company to test food-delivery robots in Ann Arbor

A Michigan company that makes self-driving food delivery vehicles will begin testing them out in Ann Arbor in January with patrons from four restaurants. Ann Arbor-based Refraction AI makes the REV, an autonomous robot that’s five feet (1.5 meters) tall, with wheels and a fuselage that can hold up to delivery bags. The company will begin using its REVs on Jan. 3 to make meal deliveries from four restaurants to a test group of 300 customers in downtown Ann Arbor. Refraction AI hopes that its electric, 100-pound (45 kilogram) REV can make food deliveries for half the cost of existing delivery services like Grubhub, EatStreet and DoorDash, the Detroit News reported.

Exclusive: U.S. talks with GM over deploying self-driving cars without steering wheels

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is holding talks with General Motors Co (GM.N) on the automaker’s petition to deploy a limited number of self-driving vehicles on American roads without steering wheels or other human controls, the head of the agency said on Friday. Acting NHTSA Administrator James Owens said his agency aims to make a decision soon on GM’s January 2018 petition as well as a request by Softbank Corp-backed (9434.T) driverless delivery startup Nuro to deploy a limited number of low-speed, highly automated delivery vehicles without human occupants.

Stay connected to the resources dedicated to the evolution of transportation mobility by visiting If you’re a company with autonomous, connected, electric or shared transportation technologies interested in tapping into PlanetM’s collaborative work space, visit