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Michigan’s 21st Century Calling Card: Mobility

Today at the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference, Gov. Rick Snyder launched “Planet M,” a new campaign designed to assert Michigan’s position as the global mobility leader. Under the tagline “Michigan. Where Big Ideas in Mobility Are Born,” Planet M will serve as a platform to raise awareness and showcase to companies the unique assets Michigan has for the testing and development of new transportation technology.

Today’s announcement comes just one year after the 2015 Conference launch of the Michigan Mobility Initiative – a first-of-its kind coalition that brings together business, automotive and university stakeholders in their commitment to defend and grow the state’s mobility industry. Partners in the Michigan Mobility Initiative, including the Chamber’s MICHauto program, played a key role in guiding the creation of the new “Planet M” campaign.

With the rise of mass urbanization and the Internet of Things, the traditional automotive industry is colliding with new technology at an unprecedented rate. This convergence, between auto and tech, is a significant focus of the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference, as Michigan pushes to leverage its signature industry and deep manufacturing know-how to become the epicenter of an emerging mobility sector.

“Mobility is going to be Michigan’s 21st-century calling card,” said Chamber President Sandy Baruah. “With our existing automotive footprint and assets, we are already positioned to be the global leader for autonomous and connected vehicle technology. However, the world is changing so quickly we can’t take it for granted, we must show how Michigan is adapting to remain the home of mobility.”

In addition, one of this year’s Conference pillars is “Investing in the Future.” This pillar stresses the critical importance of growing Michigan’s high-profile business industries, including automotive and mobility, to ensure new jobs and investment here in the state.

When it comes to mobility, here a few more reasons why there’s no place on the planet quite like Michigan:

  • By 2017, Michigan will be home to two permanent and purpose-built autonomous vehicle testing sites – the only facilities of their kind in the country.
  • Michigan is home to the largest concentration of engineers in the nation.
  • Many automotive manufacturers and suppliers are either based in the state or hold a major presence here, including seven global auto research and development companies with headquarters based in Michigan: Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and Toyota.
  • Michigan boasts the largest deployment of freeway and surface street Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) technology in the United States. Researchers expect 120 miles of a technology-enabled “smart corridor” will span I-96, I-696, I-94 and US-23. Future deployments on I-69 and I-75 will broaden the scope of testing capabilities.
  • Michigan is home to an all-weather environment, which is critical in testing autonomous technologies.
  • Michigan leads the nation in patents relating to navigation and smart mobility.