Jeff Makarewicz: Toyota Seizing Opportunity When Megatrends Collide

Jeff Makarewicz speaks at 2018 MICHauto SummitWalking out to David Bowie’s hit 1970s song “Changes,” Jeff Makarewicz, group vice president of vehicle, quality and safety engineering for Toyota Motor North America, said the song’s lyrics are a powerful message for companies in the age of new mobility.

“We are undergoing a profound transformation driven by new services, new competitors and global human challenges,” Makarewicz said. “Companies that embrace this disruption will be the difference between those that live and those that die.”

As part of his Automobility Forum town hall discussion at the MICHauto Summit, Makarewicz showed off Toyota’s e-Palette, an automated, electric, flexible vehicle concept that can be tailored to various needs and lifestyles. The concept, which debuted at CES 2018, is part of Toyota’s plan to develop a suite of connected mobility solutions.

Makarewicz pointed to four megatrends impacting Toyota and the overall industry in Michigan: the Internet of Things, autonomous machine learning, the rise of mobility as a service, and electrification.

As the industry evolves, Makarewicz said, one of the biggest challenges will be overcoming consumer perception around autonomous and electric vehicles. For instance, Makarewicz said the electric vehicle share of new vehicle sales in the United States still hovers near .6 percent, yet more and more consumers indicate an interest in purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle.

“Companies are investing in a lot of technology and partnerships with many unknowns. Where is the money to be made? You can’t let that question stop you. You must be agile, forward-thinking and embrace risk. That is what we’re doing at Toyota,” he said.

Jessica Robinson: What Does Mobility Mean to You?

Jessica Robinson speaks at 2018 MICHauto SummitJessica Robinson, director of City Solutions for Ford Smart Mobility, knows firsthand that the importance of moving people and goods efficiently is critical for the city and region’s long-term success. Kicking off her Automobility Forum town hall discussion at the MICHauto Summit, Robinson asked attendees what mobility means to them.

Sticking with the theme of her talk, “Detroit: Live, Work, Play, Move the World,” Robinson shared her professional journey and how a degree in anthropology led to a fulfilling career in automotive. Prior to joining Ford Motor Company, Robinson served as market launch manager for Zipcar, a Massachusetts-based car-sharing company. After traveling the country, Robinson said she was drawn to Detroit and the innovative spirit its residents embody.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mobility is the most interesting industry to be in, it is part of everything.
  • No matter your age, you don’t have to have your life figured out; it is important to continue to learn.
  • Find a company whose vision and mission align with your goals, it will motivate you to work harder.
  • Be engaged in your community and find a way to give back.

Robinson closed her session by emphasizing that to be successful in the automotive and mobility industry, young talent must continue to bring innovative ideas about local problems to the table, learn from others and create solutions. Robinson’s session was sponsored by Phoenix Contact E-Mobility.

Lon Offenbacher: Technology Is Turning Auto Industry on Its Head

Lon Offenbacher speaks at 2018 MICHauto SummitHarking back to the videotape format war of the late 1970s and early ’80s, Lon Offenbacher, president and CEO of Inteva Products, told MICHauto Summit attendees that technology is moving so fast, finding the right talent to keep businesses ahead of the curve is this generation’s biggest challenge.

“Do you love Michigan?” Offenbacher asked to open his town hall-style talk.

“The world is going to be so dynamic five to 10 years from now, it is going to make our heads spin,” he said referencing the convergence of the automotive and technology industries. “There are thousands of companies competing for the prize and Michigan is the middle man.”

As a global supplier of engineered components and systems for the automotive industry, Inteva Products has “constant openings” when it comes to talent, Offenbacher said.

“Motown might be mobility town in 10 or 20 years, but we need the people,” he said.

The session was sponsored by Toyota.

Key Takeaways:

  • Inteva Products is focused on creating a culture that values people. The company supports 178 charities around the world, a contributing factor to attracting talent who want to feel connected to a purpose.
  • To help fill the talent pipeline, Inteva Products offers a suite of services, from internships to apprenticeships and partnerships with colleges. The company is working toward collaborative programs with high schools to raise awareness on STEM education.
  • Never stop learning. Never stop growing.

Ford VP Ken Washington Issues ‘Call to Arms’ for Auto Industry Talent

Ken Washington speaks at 2018 MICHauto SummitSmart, connected, electrified and autonomous vehicles have the transformational potential to change the world by solving key problems like congestion in urban cores and decreasing fatalities. Automakers in Michigan and around the world can’t achieve that dream, however, without tomorrow’s talent.

“We need bright minds to address serious challenges to our society,” said Ken Washington, vice president of research and advanced engineering and chief technology officer for Ford Motor Company, to kick off the 2018 MICHauto Summit.

“The future is about connecting people in new ways. Autonomous vehicles, ride-sharing, and harnessing the power of cell phones all present opportunities and challenges. This is a call to arms to people who want to engage in our industry,” Washington added.

Addressing more than 180 students, Washington shared Ford’s vision of “smart vehicles for a smart world.”

“Our industry – and the world around us – continues to evolve faster than ever. Our entire team remains fully committed to keeping sustainability at the heart of our strategy. To achieve our sustainability goals, we will continue to drive innovation in every part of our business,” Washington said.

As part of that sustainability effort, Ford has set a goal of 40 electric vehicles and 16 fully electric vehicles by 2022.

Washington said Detroit is where new mobility solutions, fueled by vehicles, will come to life.

“The future of transportation is about not just cars, but also systems of infrastructure, urban planning, engaging cities and our government leaders,” he said.

Key Takeaways:

  • Software engineers, mechatronics and electrification are three key areas where Ford is looking to hire immediate talent.
  • Ford is developing an open platform upon which cities can build out infrastructure communications, including connected traffic lights and parking spots, called the “Transportation Mobility Cloud.” The platform is designed to help connect smart transportation services, uniting them with one common language.
  • Ford is investing in Detroit and Corktown to attract the best and brightest minds to Michigan. “Michigan is the epicenter of automobility. It is our right to create the future of mobility here,” Washington said.

Don’t Let ‘No’ Stop You: Industry Insiders Share Insight on Diverse Career Paths

Showcasing the state’s diverse and exciting automobility industry, four leading insiders shared their insight on what is driving Michigan forward — from collaboration to access to global OEMs. Pierre Bourgin of the autonomous and electric vehicle company NAVYA, Ann Arbor SPARK’s Komal Doshi, Tarun Kajeepeta of startup company Mobiliti, and Detroit Mobility Lab’s Chris Thomas participated in the 15-minute, TED-style talks, which were new to this year’s MICHauto Summit.

Pierre Bourgin on Michigan’s appeal to tech and mobility companies:

“Where else would you want to be? Only here do we have access to the industry and the technology you need, and a pipeline of people who are passionate and motivated to work in the industry.”

Komal Doshi on mobility’s ability to improve lives:

“The mobility disruption in Michigan has allowed more fields than ever before to work together and connect people unlike anywhere else in the world.”

Tarun Kajeepeta on creating a startup:

“There is no better level of resources than in this region, all of them are here and ready to be used. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the industry players, there is a spirit of collaboration here like no other.”

Chris Thomas on overcoming obstacles:

“What if someone says ‘no,’ who cares? Work through that no and focus on the ‘yes.’ It is about putting yourself out there and working to build something and create an experience.”

The Automobility Forum was sponsored by the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development.

Mayor Mike Duggan Proclaims Oct. 7-12 Mobility Week in Detroit

Mayor Mike Duggan has joined businesses across the city and region to celebrate Detroit’s global leadership in automotive next-generation mobility technology by issuing a proclamation that recognizes this week, Oct. 7-12, “Mobility Week” in Detroit.

Through collaborative efforts by the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto initiative, Quicken Loans Community Fund and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and PlanetM, TechStars Mobility and Henry Ford Health System, a number of events will take place across Detroit to showcase the industry highlighting career opportunities, the cross-section between health care and mobility, and the transformational technology being developed.

“Detroit has historically been the center of the automotive universe, and now our city is leading the way into the next generation of the industry,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “It makes perfect sense to shape the future of mobility right here in Detroit, and I’m proud to proclaim this week as Mobility Week.”

Many of the region’s assets will be on display, including Detroit’s growing startup ecosystem, technology development of the region, and the work Detroit’s Transportation and Mobility Office is engaging in the city and neighborhoods around transportation solutions.

“This proclamation calls attentions to the diverse players in mobility to celebrate our leadership in next-generation mobility,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of Automotive and Mobility Initiatives for the Chamber. “We have come so far, and it is important to share and celebrate the new technology the industry offers with the public.”

Learn more about some of the Mobility Week Detroit events, including the 2018 MICHauto Summit below or visit www.mobilityweekdetroit.com.

MICHauto Summit: Explore Your Automobility Future

Oct. 10
The Beacon at One Woodward

MICHauto’s signature event engages automotive industry leaders with students and interns from regional universities, colleges and trade schools for a full day of programming. The Summit offers a unique opportunity to discuss the evolution of the automotive industry and its career pathways. Automotive and mobility industry professionals will share the career pathways with more than 160 students and interns. Conversations and topics will examine the future of the automotive, mobility and technology fields and how the industry is rapidly changing from decades past.

 

Henry Ford Health System all for you logo

The Eye, The Brain & The Auto
Oct. 7-9
MotorCity Casino

 

The 8th World Research Congress on Vision and Driving is focusing on the autonomous vehicle technology and its impact on health care. The three-day world congress will look at the way mobility technology is disrupting the way IT, big-data management and health care does business. Sessions will touch on how vision and cognition will play a key role in connected and autonomous vehicles, their development and how users interact with them. It also will highlight how the medical field can contribute and benefit from the development of driverless cars, trusts and other forms of transportation.

 

TechStars Demo Day 
Oct. 9
Detroit Film Theater

 

 

The 2018 Class of startups enrolled in the Techstars Mobility Accelerator will be center stage as they graduate from this unique mentoring program. More than a thousand investors, community members, students and representatives from the automotive and transportation industries will be in the audience to hear about new technology, autonomous advances and mobility answers from the Techstars participants. The event is the largest single-day startup and innovation event nationwide, organizers say, giving these up-and-coming entrepreneurs a venue to share their ideas and network with industry executives in real and substantial ways. Techstars with its worldwide network that focusing on helping entrepreneurs succeed offers its mobility program solely in Detroit. Its current class of 11 companies is the most diverse to date, has businesses that span a wide array of mobility solutions and comes from countries across the globe, including Hong Kong and London.

 

Detroit Moves
Oct. 10-11
Spirit Plaza

 

This free and family-friendly two-day outdoor festival brings people together with mobility companies, industry leaders and the latest in technology at Detroit’s Spirit Plaza. Now in its second year, Detroit Moves is a showcase for connected and autonomous vehicles as well as the people who make these high-tech machines, organizers say. The festival also includes art exhibits, musical performances, food and family-orientated activities such as a mobility-themed scavenger hunt. Additional activities include an educational village featuring STEM careers and area universities such as Wayne State and the Center for Creative Studies, a startup village with mobility-related startup companies and a social hour featuring food, beverage and entertainment from 5-7 p.m. on Oct. 11. Some exhibitors included May Mobility, which has an autonomous transport that takes Bedrock Detroit employees around the downtown core, as well as MoGo, Maven, Chariot, Airspace and America’s Automotive Trust.

Mobility Week brings new technology, innovations to the Motor City

October 4, 2018
Curbed Detroit
By Robin Runyan

Ask someone in Detroit what mobility means in the city right now and you’re likely to get many different answers. It could mean the patchwork of ways to travel around the city: car, bus, scooter, bike, foot. It could mean financial mobility, or the complications of a city with a high poverty rate and scattered transit system. Or it could mean the broader future, and how Detroit could be a leader in creating how the world moves in the next generation.

From October 7-12, Mobility Week Detroit aims to showcase Detroit’s leadership in technology and the future of mobility. The umbrella of Mobility Week encompasses many different summits and gatherings, including the annual Tech Stars Demo Day; a Henry Ford Health System conference, “The Eye, The Brain and the Auto;” and the Michigan Auto Summit, which presents students with automotive career possibilities.

The public can check out Detroit Moves, which lands in Spirit Plaza October 10 and 11. This free event will showcase a variety of mobility services and businesses, including MoGo, DDOT, Maven, Chariot, May Mobility, and Airspace.

Also expect an educational village with STEM careers and area universities, along with a village of mobility-related start-ups, demonstrations, and interactive experiences with mobility technology. The Detroit Moves website even touts that a flying car will be there.

“The Detroit region is leading in the development of next-generation mobility technology,” said Glenn Stevens, vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber and executive director of MICHauto. “These events offer an opportunity to not only showcase these emerging technologies, but also provide a way for the industry professionals to connect with the talent needed to continue to lead.”

Detroit Moves is a free festival that runs 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. October 10 and 11. Mobility Week Detroit includes events around the city throughout the week.

View the original article.

Top Automotive Executives to Meet with Legislators on MICHauto Policy Priorities; State Senator Wayne Schmidt Named Legislator of the Year

DETROIT (May 17, 2018) – Today, MICHauto, a statewide initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, convenes 23 automotive executives for meetings with 27 state legislators in Lansing. For the fifth consecutive year, MICHauto has brought together the automotive industry and legislators to discuss the impact of the industry across the state. This year, industry leaders identified policy priorities that are most important to their continued growth.

The 2018 policy priorities focus on the following areas:

  • Industry Talent Pipeline: Development of a strong talent pipeline for the automotive industry and next-generation mobility development.
  • Connected and Automated Vehicle R&D and Testing: Ensure that Michigan remains at the forefront for companies and research institutions.
  • International Trade: Encourage productive efforts to promote fair trade through the pursuit of high-standard trade agreements.

View the full policy priorities.

“The MICHauto policy priorities were created with the automotive industry and represent their thoughts on what we need to focus on to ensure future economic success,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Chamber. “Meeting with legislators is crucial to ensuring that policymakers understand the industry’s issues, opportunities, and our collective economic impact.”

Additionally, each year, MICHauto recognizes a distinguished legislator for his or her commitment to the state and the automotive industry. This year’s honoree state Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) will be recognized during a luncheon reception between meetings.

Sen. Schmidt’s commitment to automated vehicle R&D, his sponsorship and advocacy on behalf of the Good Jobs for Michigan legislative package, and his support for modernization and expansion of the Soo Locks, all serve as compelling testaments to his leadership in supporting Michigan’s largest industry and creating jobs across the state.

“I am honored to be named Legislator of the Year,” Schmidt said. “The policy priorities outlined by MICHauto highlight the importance of protecting our state’s legacy automotive industry. As Michigan positions itself to lead the industry’s transformation, I look forward to working with our industry to protect its future.”

Past recipients of the Legislator of the Year award include Sens. Steve Bieda (D-Warren), Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth) and Mike Kowall (R-White Lake).

Detroit Is Becoming the Silicon Valley of Smart Mobility Tech

March 5, 2018

By Marcus Amick

Silicon Valley might be the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of groundbreaking technology, but there’s another major tech revolution underway some 2,300 miles east. 

Building on decades of experience putting the world on wheels, Michigan has been busily establishing its own reputation as a place for high-tech innovation, from engineering the next level of electric batteries to the development of driverless ride-sharing vehicles. It’s a shift that’s quickly transforming the Detroit-anchored manufacturing hub, long known for its growling muscle cars and massive luxury SUVs, into a burgeoning tech spot that’s poised to drive the future of mobility.

The area’s transformation into a hotbed for mobility ideas is being driven by an expansive partnership across the state with car companies, automotive suppliers, universities, local agencies, startups and others in the public and private sectors, which has created a research and development ecosystem unlike any other in the world.

Playboy recently had a chance to get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at some of the collaborative efforts that are leading the charge, touring places like the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) and University of Michigan’s Mcity.

Launched in 2016, TRI aims to bridge the gap between research and product development in the mobility space, spanning from artificial intelligence to cutting-edge robotics. The Ann Arbor-based Mcity, which opened in 2015, brings together leaders from the auto sector, government and academia to work on new innovations for practically every facet of self-driving vehicle technology, from pedestrian detection systems to connected vehicles. In fact, later this year, Mcity will launch operations for what is believed to be the first fully autonomous shuttle to be used on a college campus to transport students, faculty and staff.

Michigan also just celebrated the opening of the American Center for Mobility (ACM), a state-of-the-art proving ground for connected and automated vehicle technology. The 500-acre site will provide researchers and engineers with real-world driving dynamics when testing driverless vehicles, and includes a 2.5-mile highway loop, a 700-foot curved tunnel, two double overpasses, intersections and roundabouts.

At the U-M Energy Institute Battery Lab, researchers are working on ways to develop cheaper and longer-lasting energy-storage devices that will make automobiles more efficient in the future. Even the Michigan-based pizza company Domino’s has jumped into the fray, teaming up with Ford Motor Co. to conduct a pilot project in Michigan, where pizza deliveries were made with an autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid, and customers were able to use GPS technology to follow their delivery vehicle with an upgraded version of Domino’s Tracker system. Ford is now revving up to apply the lessons learned in the Michigan pilot project to launch its first self-driving vehicle business in Miami and Miami Beach, in a partnership with Domino’s and the food delivery service Postmates.

Trevor Pawl, Group VP of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), an organization helping to connect the dots in the state’s mobility strategy, says it only makes sense for Michigan to take a leading role in the space.

“Seventy-six percent of the American auto industry’s research and development happens in the state of Michigan. Ninety-six percent of the top 100 automotive suppliers in North America have a presence in Michigan. And Michigan has the greatest concentration of original equipment manufacturers in the world,” notes Pawl, who also serves as VP of PlanetM, an arm of MEDC that focuses solely on mobility issues. “If a new vehicle technology is going to be produced for the masses, that technology will likely run through an executive, designer, buyer or engineer in Michigan.”

According to PlanetM, Michigan has led the nation in mobility-related patents over the past five years, and is home to 49 connected and automated vehicle projects—more than any other state. The North American International Show, held in early January in Detroit, devoted an entire area to showcasing some of the strides the city is making in the tech-driven mobility space.

Playboy had a chance to get a more hands-on take on some of that progress, when given the opportunity to test drive the 238-mile-range Chevrolet Bolt EV in Los Angeles, a city in which one gets a true sense of the dire need for smarter mobility. All of the engineering, battery development and vehicle integration for the electric Chevy hatch, which was first introduced at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), was done in Michigan. The surprisingly peppy Bolt EV, which starts at around $36,000, is now widely considered to be the go-to example on how to successfully pull off a “true” electric vehicle for the masses, a mark that even the Northern California-based Tesla has struggled with, despite its popularity as a brand.

Still, the idea, Pawl tells Playboy, is not for Michigan to compete with Silicon Valley, but rather to build a more cohesive partnership with California. “Both regions need one another,” he says. “California can leverage Michigan’s production expertise, and Michigan can benefit from Silicon Valley’s software prowess and startup ecosystem.”

For Detroit, the state’s shift into the area of mobility has become a pivotal part of the city’s local development strategy, as a means of solving transportation issues for Detroit’s nearly 700,000 residents, and luring more businesses and people to the city.

“Getting from A to B is one of the basic functions of life. And as we grow as a city, both for people that have been here for 50 years as well as potential new residents, both have that same need of getting where they need to go and doing it in a way that’s safe, fast and affordable. And that’s what we are striving to do,” says Mark de la Vergne, the City of Detroit’s chief of mobility innovation. “We need to continue to make investments in transit and make it easier for people to do it. We want this to be able to provide the mobility that allows people to get where they need to be, whether that’s their job, whether that’s a doctor’s appointment, whether that’s their school. It’s important part of life.”

The city’s partnerships with groups like Techstars, a global mentoring and funding network that has an automotive mobility arm in Detroit, are more specifically focused on fostering the other side of that development strategy, namely attracting new startups to the city.

To date, Techstars has bought in a group of more than 30 diverse companies from around the world that are focused on developing new automotive mobility technologies. “A handful came from Michigan. It’s almost all external, companies that actually wanted to come to Detroit,” says Ted Serbinski, managing director of Techstars mobility. “Startups know that if you want to be in automotive, you have to come here.”

Detroit’s positioning in Michigan’s growth as a major mobility development hub is also being fueled by longer-standing businesses such as the Lear Corporation, an automotive supplier that develops high-tech seating systems, which opened a satellite innovation center in the city’s downtown area in 2016.

Stephen Rober, VP of engineering at Lear, says the downtown location gives the company prime access to one of the most critical resources needed when it comes to automotive innovations. “This lets us tap more directly into the city’s infrastructure, the schools that are here, the local universities,” Rober tells Playboy. “It gives us more direct access…to that raw talent.”

Looking to make a more direct connection in its mobility strategy, Ford, which is headquartered on the outskirts of the city, is also gearing up to open a new office in downtown Detroit focused on autonomous and electric vehicles that will house more than 200 employees. The popular ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber have been pushing to make a bigger play in Detroit as well. In addition, the University of Michigan startup May Mobility has been using Downtown Detroit as a major hub for testing its new driverless shuttles as part of its future growth strategy.

Of course, the city long known as the “car capital” of the world is nowhere close to abandoning its core tradition of crafting cool cars out of hunks of sheet metal, which has shaped the area for more than 100 years. But it’s clear that the region is more focused on redefining itself for the future of transportation, rather than reveling in its legacy.

“We fully design, integrate, engineer and build some of the most world-class vehicles. But mobility is changing and it has to,” says Glenn Stevens, executive director of the Detroit Regional Chamber MICHauto and vice president of the chamber’s Automotive & Mobility Initiatives. “These forces that are hitting us—where people are moving to cities, scarcity of resources…and everything in between—means that we need to use our base platform of innovation in automotive to transform our industry here in Michigan and Detroit to the way the world is consuming mobility.”

This article was originally published on www.playboy.com on March 5, 2018. 

PlanetM Landing Zone Amps up in First 90 Days, No Sign of Slowing Down

Logo for Planet M Landing Zone

Ninety days since the official launch of the PlanetM Landing Zone, efforts to attract and connect global mobility startups to the Detroit region are moving rapidly, with 18 global mobility startups, three Tier 1 OEM partners and a venture capital firm actively engaging at WeWork Merchant’s Row. The Chamber launched the PlanetM Landing Zone in October 2017, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Connection Point for Global Mobility Startups

This first-of-its-kind space creates a physical entry point for startups and businesses to share and collaborate to drive innovation in next-generation mobility.

Global startups such as DriveSmart, based out of Madrid, the first company in the world specializing in smart driving metrics; and DERQ, a Dubai-based MIT artificial intelligence spinoff, have set up a presence at the Landing Zone.

National startups are also engaging in the space including Mapbox, a location data company, and Spatial, the world’s first human-driven artificial intelligence platform and graduate of the Techstars Mobility accelerator program.

Ford Motor Company and two additional Tier 1 OEMs have signed on as industry partners to actively engage with member startup companies and explore their technology and potential partnerships. With the momentum and attention the Landing Zone has built up in the first 90 days, the opportunities to drive collaboration and innovation in Detroit position our region for strategic growth in the automotive, IT, and mobility sectors.

CES and North American International Auto Show Provide New Leads

From Las Vegas to Detroit, the Chamber started the new year engaging with global mobility and technology startups to promote the Detroit region’s automotive and mobility assets. The Chamber’s business attraction efforts from CES and the North American International Auto Show led to Mighty AI, a tech startup based out of Seattle, Wash. establishing a presence at the Landing Zone and a dozen other global startups considering memberships.

As membership continues to grow, the Landing Zone is actively exploring ways to connect startups to the resources they need to succeed in the region. In the next coming months, aside from networking and curated events, members will also be able to engage and connect through a mobile application, and will also have access to a catalog of legal, tax and human resources services to help grow their businesses.

For more information about the PlanetM Landing Zone or to engage, please visit www.planetmlandingzone.com.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Harris at 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page.