Michigan’s Leadership in Dynamic Technology Deployments Comes to Life at NAIAS 2020

Lt. Governor Gilchrist Announces NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge Airport to Downtown Technology Demonstrations

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II announced Dataspeed and FEV have been selected through the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge to provide first-of-its-kind technology demonstrations on routes from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to downtown Detroit during the 2020 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

The announcement builds on Governor Whitmer’s announcement in October 2019 of five highly automated vehicle providers for the downtown Detroit circulator routes, which will offer unique in-vehicle experiences throughout downtown Detroit during NAIAS in June 2020, as well as the Mobility Challenge MaaS platform provider.

“The NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge builds on our state’s reputation as a leader in collaborating across the public and private sectors to successfully identify, create, support and deploy mobility solutions that address transportation challenges impacting the quality of life for Michigan residents,” said Gilchrist. “Today’s announcement underscores that in Michigan, we believe the true power and value in the technologies on display at NAIAS 2020 will be in how they make access to reliable, affordable transportation available to all of our state’s citizens.”

Details about the two airport route providers chosen for the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge are as follows:

Dataspeed – Partnering with Michigan State University, AM General, Comet Mobility, and Easterseals, Dataspeed will provide an accessible, automated shuttle service that will navigate Detroit’s busy city streets as well as highway-speed traffic. The automated shuttles, which Dataspeed will engineer on the AM General MV-1 platform, will be designed with the latest safety-focused technology. The MV-1 is the only commercial vehicle platform that was designed and built specifically for wheelchair accessibility from the ground up. Each shuttle will be equipped with industry-leading vehicle software and sensors to appropriately detect, predict, and react during the pre-planned route. Built specifically for NAIAS 2020, passengers will also have a unique in-vehicle user experience provided by Comet Mobility.

“The Michigan Mobility Challenge provides opportunities for the public to experience autonomous vehicles during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this summer," said Dr. Shelia Cotten, who is representing MSU on the team. "Seeing and riding in an autonomous vehicle is likely to significantly impact people’s perceptions of autonomous vehicles — which is critical for enhancing acceptance and willingness to use autonomous vehicles in society in the future.”

A professor in MSU's Department of Media & Information, Cotten will report on the project — from partners involved, coordination among partners, challenges encountered, successes achieved, to potential for sustainability moving forward for this type of initiative. She brings expertise in sociomobility and a research background that includes work on autonomous vehicles and the impacts technology has on society.

“We are excited to be making such an impact in the future of transportation. Metro Detroit is not only the automotive capital of the nation, but it’s also paving the way in autonomous vehicle technology,” said Paul Fleck, Founder and CEO of Dataspeed. “This project is a paramount step for the autonomous vehicle industry by showcasing driverless solutions that can bridge the mobility gap of persons with disabilities. These shuttle rides will build upon the increasing public trust and interest surrounding self-driving cars.”

FEV – Teaming up with Polysync, DriveU and Western Michigan University, FEV will offer 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. This solution will integrate technology by Polysync to modify standard vehicles to have automated vehicle capabilities.

“FEV is excited to have the opportunity to demonstrate what can be accomplished through our business philosophy of ‘Building Partnerships to Develop Future Mobility Solutions’,” said President and CEO of FEV North America Dr. Patrick Hupperich. “We are proud to lead the first-rate organizations collaborating to offer NAIAS visitors a real-world autonomous driving experience.”

Dataspeed and FEV will be providing shuttles along two distinct routes from Detroit Metro Airport directly to downtown Detroit. One route will transport passengers along I-94 to M-1, dropping riders in downtown Detroit on Warren Ave., where they can access hotels and other NAIAS activities. The second route will run from I-94 to US-12, providing riders a direct service to the TCF Center for the NAIAS 2020 activities. The shuttles will run Monday, June 8 through Thursday, June 11 during press and industry preview days.

“Michigan is the past, present and future center of mobility revolution, and today’s announcement further solidifies our position,” said Paul C. Ajegba, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. “Thanks to bipartisan support for groundbreaking legislation and our unique private-sector partnerships, including the North American International Auto Show, MDOT can continue to innovate and adapt our infrastructure to meet the needs of connected and automated transportation.”

“Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is the first stop for many international and out-of-state visitors of the North American International Auto Show,” said Wayne County Airport Authority CEO Chad Newton. “The Michigan Mobility Challenge will provide a unique in-vehicle experience from the airport to downtown Detroit. We are proud to work with Governor Whitmer, Lt. Governor Gilchrist, MDOT, PlanetM and all supporters of this initiative to showcase the cutting-edge technology that will be developed right here in Michigan.”

Governor Whitmer announced the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge in May, calling on industry innovators to propose dynamic technology deployments that embody how automated and connected vehicle technology can transform how we live, work and play. It builds on the $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge launched to address core mobility gaps for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and veterans across the state.

“The collaborative spirit of this public/private partnership plays a significant role in setting Michigan apart when it comes to leadership in the mobility sector,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). “From our PlanetM initiative to efforts to attract new technology companies to the state, we are committed to making sure the future of transportation will be developed and built from right here in Michigan through efforts like the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge.”

“Mobility is being redefined in Detroit and Wayne County daily, and this will showcase that innovation while reimagining the connection of two world-class assets, Detroit and Metro airport, that make Michigan such a player in the global economy,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. 

The two companies announced in January 2020 were selected through a competitive RFP process.

About PlanetM

PlanetM is a partnership of mobility organizations, communities, educational institutions, research and development, and government agencies working together to develop and deploy the mobility technologies driving the future. Available to any mobility-focused company or investor, PlanetM is a no-cost, concierge service that connects startups, businesses and communities to Michigan’s mobility ecosystem — the people, places and resources dedicated to the evolution of transportation mobility. Michigan has always been the leader of the automotive industry, and as transportation technologies continue to evolve in amazing ways, Michigan continues to lead the way. Visit PlanetM.com to learn more.