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Press Release: Governor Whitmer announces providers for NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced five highly automated vehicle providers have been selected through the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge to provide first-of-its-kind technology demonstrations while providing unique in-vehicle experiences throughout downtown Detroit during the 2020 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The Governor announced the 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.

“We are committed to our role as a global leader in transforming mobility technology and the automotive landscape while improving the lives and safety of Michigan residents and visitors, through unique and innovative partnerships,” Governor Whitmer said. “The providers selected through this Mobility Challenge have the opportunity to put the future of automotive technology on display in the heart of Motor City for visitors and residents alike.”

The downtown Detroit circulator experiences will run June 6-June 21, 2020 during preview week and public days of NAIAS 2020. The public will be able to see the technology first hand and book rides on all Mobility Challenge in-vehicle experiences through a NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge app being developed by Moovit , a leading Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platform provider. This MaaS app will provide an integrated, seamless user experience across all of the Mobility Challenge demonstrations, including multi-modal trip planning combining automated vehicles, with public transit, and micro-mobility service providers, step-by-step directions and real-time arrivals using a single mobility app.

The five downtown Detroit providers selected are as follows:

Continental Teaming with EasyMile, Nexteer Automotive, 3M, CNXMotion and Oakland University, Continental will provide a fixed-route shuttle, utilizing three, automated 15-passenger vehicles. There will also be capacity for a “shuttle train,” carrying groups of up to 45 people at one time. Continental will also be piloting technology relating to interior sensors, Intelligent Intersections and smart signage.

NAVYA – Teaming with Wayne State University, NAVYA will offer a fixed route shuttle with 15 passenger capacity piloting technology to improve accessibility options, including an automated ramp and restraints for paratransit riders, shuttle suspension kneels at curb and interior machine vision research.

Yandex – Teaming with Hyundai Mobis and Lawrence Technological University, Yandex will deploy 10 4-passenger sedans as a fleet of automated robo-taxis operating with fixed stops. This will be the largest demonstration of the Yandex robo-taxi fleet to date in the United States.

Local Motors by LMI – Teaming with Robotic Research, Local Motors will deploy two self-driving Olli shuttles along a fixed route. Each shuttle is 80 percent 3D printed, has automated ramps and wheelchair restraints and holds 8 seated passengers.

AutoGuardian by Smart Cone – Teaming with, Aurrigo, AutoGuardian by SmartCone will provide a unique shuttle service along a fixed route with six stops, including intelligent infrastructure and monitoring along the route for an added layer of safety and awareness. SmartTorches will alert pedestrians of oncoming shuttles through visual and audible cues and interact with the TheSmartConeTM modular platform. The debut of Aurrigo’s new electric shuttle bus, featuring two 12-passenger shuttles, features adaptive autonomy, meaning the shuttles can drive on roads today as an electric vehicle and “switch on” its autonomous features as regulations and policy changes allow for greater use of automated vehicles on roadways.

These experiences, and the mobility solutions being demonstrated, showcase a high level of automation (Level 3 or above) with a number of providers featuring accessibility solutions and electrification. Projects also identified a university partner to document the effectiveness and public acceptance of the mobility solutions that are selected and demonstrated. Combined, these demonstrations will showcase emerging mobility solutions and build on the state’s automotive heritage and ecosystem by utilizing Michigan’s roadways as a proving ground for automated-vehicle solutions.

An additional route serving as a shuttle between Detroit Metropolitan Airport and downtown Detroit will also be announced at a future date.

“We continue to be amazed at the entrepreneurial spirit and creative genius of our private-sector mobility partners,” said MDOT Director Paul C. Ajegba. “The people behind these projects accepted Gov. Whitmer’s challenge and exceeded expectations. More than ever, the 2020 North American International Auto Show will demonstrate the benefits of Michigan leaders emphasizing collaboration among private industry, government and academia.”

Michigan has successfully leveraged public/private partnerships, like the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge, to drive unique and impactful collaborations between diverse groups of stakeholders, from state and local officials, startups, regional transit authorities, educational institutions and advocacy groups in the state. With its investment of $5.4 million dollars in the Mobility Challenge, Michigan is again signaling its commitment to engaging with the private sector and beyond to best address transportation gaps that exist for residents in the state, and beyond.

“The NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge is bringing new and innovative technologies to downtown Detroit that will not only provide thousands of visitors with an opportunity for their first experience in an automated vehicle, but will also help us better address transportation challenges that impact the quality of life for citizens every day in the city, across our state and around the nation,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “Through our PlanetM mobility initiative, we are proud to partner with MDOT and all of the providers announced today to pilot these exciting new technologies right here in Michigan.”

In May, Governor Whitmer launched the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge, calling upon 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 mobility solutions providers announced today by the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge illustrate the kind of innovation that the media and consumers will experience when they attend NAIAS in June 2020,” said Doug North, chairman of the North American International Auto Show. “We are excited about the technology and new types of transportation these companies will demonstrate during the show and we continue to be thankful for this partnership with the state of Michigan and the support from the governor for this program.”

The six companies announced today were selected through a competitive RFP process.


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