MACKINAC ISLAND, May 27, 2015 – Today at the Mackinac Policy Conference, MICHauto, an economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, and a group of leading business, automotive and university stakeholders announced the Michigan Mobility Initiative to strengthen, protect and promote the state’s global leadership in next-generation mobility development. This includes high-tech research and development into self-driving cars, connected vehicles, new fuel technologies and other important innovations.
“Other regions are fighting for this technology and these jobs, and it is important for us to emphasize that Michigan is at the forefront of the development of the connected vehicle,” said Glenn Stevens, vice president of MICHauto and Strategic Development for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “The automotive research, design and advanced manufacturing resources here are unparalleled and have our state leading next-generation mobility. If you want to design, test or manufacture smart mobility technology you have to have a presence in Michigan.”
In leading the mobility initiative, MICHauto has convened a coalition of essential statewide business, automotive and university groups to focus on this priority. The participating organizations include: Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and University Research Corridor (URC). The group recently released a map featuring 28 existing facilities that play a role in developing, designing, testing and manufacturing smart mobility technology in the state.
In 2014, Michigan led the U.S. in connected vehicle projects (45), followed by California (31), a gap that grew by 50 percent from the previous year. Ranked No. 1 nationally for the number of advanced auto industry jobs (67,825) and businesses (462), Southeast Michigan is positioned to lead in connected and automated vehicle and technology.
As part of business, investment and talent attraction efforts, the coalition will use the automotive resources map to promote Michigan’s assets to start-ups, entrepreneurs, suppliers and tech companies looking to be part of the smart mobility sector.
“Michigan is the premier strategic location for emerging connected vehicle technology,” said Kevin Kerrigan, senior vice president, Automotive Office at the MEDC. “Michigan is leading the innovation that is redefining the interconnected world. The challenge now is to maintain and capitalize on this advantage, which could not be more important to the future of our state.”
The coalition’s objectives include:
MICHauto also convened representatives of the coalition along with other key automotive leaders and stakeholders at the Conference for a roundtable moderated by Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon focused on infrastructure, talent and policy needs related to next-generation mobility.
“Detroit and Michigan are in the crosshairs of some very talented innovators in places like Silicon Valley,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of BLM. “Michigan has to work quickly and cohesively to maximize our existing automotive resources in the next-generation mobility – and that includes a focus on talent. Even more so than in the past, leadership in automotive hinges on the engineers, designers and entrepreneurs who can harness innovation to change the way the world moves.”
Director Kirk Steudle added: “Connected and autonomous vehicle technology is evolving on a daily basis on the streets of Southeast Michigan, perhaps in the vehicle right next to you. This is the next big thing, and as the auto state, it is vital that we continue to lead through initiatives like the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center and M City. MDOT is committed to developing and adapting the infrastructure to support intelligent transportation that will save countless lives and make mobility more efficient than ever.”
University Research Corridor Executive Director Jeff Mason said: “Michigan’s major research universities are producing the talent needed to support our state’s automotive and mobility markets. URC universities have a well-deserved reputation for providing world-class talent, research and development to the automotive sector, and will continue to set the pace in the connected-vehicle era.”
About the Michigan Mobility Initiative
The Michigan Mobility Initiative, led by the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto program, is a coalition of leading business and automotive stakeholders committed to growing Michigan’s role as the global leader in smart mobility technology. The coalition consists of Business Leaders for Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corp., Michigan Department of Transportation and the University Research Corridor. These partners are committed to leveraging automotive assets and resources to promote, grow and retain smart mobility in Michigan.
MICHauto is a statewide initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive industry in Michigan. MICHauto embodies a public-private strategy, championing Michigan as the global epicenter of the automotive industry and providing a platform for collaboration on advocacy, business attraction and retention, and talent attraction and development. Serving as the unified voice of Michigan’s automotive cluster, MICHauto works closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Original Equipment Suppliers Association, Center for Automotive Research and other Michigan and national organizations. To learn more visit MICHauto.org.