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.

Automation Alley offers Integr8™ early bird member pricing through July 7; Special VIP ticket package also available to first 100 members

Automation Alley is offering its members a special early bird rate and VIP ticket package to attend Integr8™, the technology and manufacturing business association’s new interactive, cross-discipline global Industry 4.0 conference. Integr8™ will feature world-renowned speakers, panels and a technology expo, and is expected to attract 500 manufacturing and technology professionals from across the region and world to Detroit, Nov. 9.

Members can save $100 on conference tickets by taking advantage of early bird member pricing of $349 through July 7. In addition, members have access to a VIP Package for $599 that includes tickets to both the VIP Dinner and Cocktail Reception on Nov. 8 at the new Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and the Integr8™ conference on Nov. 9 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. The VIP Package is limited to the first 100 registrants.

Integr8™ will advance attendees’ knowledge and understanding of the eight key technologies associated with Industry 4.0: cybersecurity, big data and artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, advanced materials, robotics, the Industrial Internet of Things, cloud computing and modeling, simulation and visualization.

“These are technologies disrupting the manufacturing industry, innovations that will not only reshape the way things are made, but also the way we live,” said Tom Kelly, Automation Alley’s executive director. “Our vision in developing Integr8™ was to create a global gathering where ideas are shared, knowledge is transferred and, most importantly, an actionable Industry 4.0 roadmap is created so that companies can begin to implement these technologies on their factory floors.”

Integr8™ attendees will benefit from breakfast and lunch keynote presentations, a technology expo featuring the latest in cutting-edge technologies and breakout sessions focused on advancements in manufacturing, how to overcome obstacles to adoption, financial ROI and blueprints for successful Industry 4.0 implementation. Confirmed speakers include world-renowned manufacturing experts and Industry 4.0 thought leaders from Carnegie Mellon University, Fraunhofer, University of Michigan, General Motors, Omron Automation and more.

To register, sponsor, or inquire about Integr8™ speaking opportunities, visit

About Automation Alley
Integr8™ is presented by Automation Alley, Michigan’s leading nonprofit technology and manufacturing business association, connecting industry, academia and government to fuel Southeast Michigan’s economy and accelerate innovation. The mission of Automation Alley is to position Southeast Michigan as a global leader in Industry 4.0 by helping our members increase revenue, reduce costs and think strategically as they keep pace with rapid technological changes in manufacturing.

Rise of the Connected State: Urban Renewal, Health Care, Innovation Complement Michigan’s Automotive Leadership in the Digital Era

By James Amend

Page 40-41

As leaders in connected and autonomous vehicles, as well as a region undergoing a renaissance in economic redevelopment, Southeast Michigan ­finds itself on the doorstep of a new day in the information age, where data gathering and analysis will connect people and things like never before.

The advantages of an intensely connected world, which is underpinned by big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) remotely linking objects and devices to our ­fingertips, appear limitless. As a hub for automotive research and development, the state is keenly aware of how connected cars could save lives, improve the environment and ease the everyday grind. But the possibilities for enriching daily life go well beyond transportation and into ­fields like urban renewal, health care, government, manufacturing and education.

“The idea and successful execution of connected devices is valuable to society as a whole,” said Keith Collins, executive vice president and chief information of­ficer at North Carolina-based SAS, a statistical analysis software company.

The Federal Trade Commission estimates the number of devices connected to the internet, such as automated home systems that turn on the porch lights at night or fitness bracelets that share your workout with friends, will surpass 50 billion by 2020. That is seven times the number of people on earth.

The information unlocked by such widespread connectivity, as well as the behavioral patterns and predictions that data can yield, may solve future cultural dilemmas, such as a global urban population expected to surpass 6 billion by 2045.

Ingeborg Rocker, vice president of 3DEXPERIENCity at Dassault Systèmes, a French multinational software company, said it is time break away from traditional paradigms of urbanism.

“How do we rethink living and mobility in the 21st century?” she asked. “It will be a smart, serviceable environment where objects can be easily programmed and devices can send information back to us.”

MORE: Fortune Magazine’s Geoff Colvin Assesses Michigan’s Leadership in the Technology Race

3DEXPERIENCity is a data-rich, virtual model of a city, where researchers and developers can develop, analyze, simulate and even operate new scenarios for the cities prior to their realization. In this way, potentially dramatic changes to the landscape, infrastructure and population can be previewed and — if undesired — prevented. It is a sharable platform between stakeholders and is continuously updated to provide a real-time point of reference. Want to build a new high-rise? 3DEXPERIENCity will be able to visualize how the development might affect the current and future demography, or how it may alter traffic patterns and electrical use.

“It may chart the entire lifecycle of a city,” Rocker said.

Dassault Systèmes has applied the technology for an initiative called Virtual Singapore, a dynamic data model designed to enhance government services, the connectivity of its residents and fuel innovations to answer severe growth restrictions on the small island nation.

Rocker thinks Detroit, with its automotive backbone and buzz of redevelopment, could employ a similar virtual model.

“It would be a fantastic place,” she said. “There is incredible momentum, entrepreneurship and a pioneering spirit.”

The plan would not only provide development direction, but also could create a new revenue stream by selling Detroit’s smart city expertise and model to other cities seeking successful revitalization.

The promise of connectivity also can be seen in emerging health care technologies, said Wright Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

“We can use big data to deliver personalized medicine to a patient based on their genetic makeup,” said Lassiter, who oversees the $5.5 billion health care organization, comprising six hospitals, 60 clinical sites and 28,000 employees.

Cancer patients, for example, respond to treatments differently and only until recently have researchers been able to determine why. Now speci­fic cancers can be targeted using data from a patient’s genetic makeup as well as the tumor itself. The method is called precision medicine, and Henry Ford leads a national, seven health system consortium funded by the National Institutes of Health researching its possibilities among 1 million cohorts.

Lassiter said participation in the program underscores Michigan’s history as a health care innovator.

“Precision medicine is the complete embodiment of our commitment to our patients,” he said. “We are on the cutting edge, personalizing care you won’t ­find in other places.”

The automobile will continue to play a major role in the future, just as it has since American industrialist Henry Ford’s $5-a-day wage brought personal mobility to the masses. But with cities around the world already straining under gridlock, the auto industry must shift from exclusively supplying personal transportation to enabling a shared model where people, goods and services move freely, said John Kwant, vice president of City Solutions at Ford Motor Co.

“Otherwise it all comes to a halt,” Kwant said. “There is widespread agreement that there needs to be investment in infrastructure, but we also have to ensure it is not all going to cement and steel, and rail cars and things. An increasing amount of it has to be going to smart applications to help all that capacity — new and old — be better coordinated.

A connected world does not come without risk, however, Collins added.

“There are steps that must be taken to ensure data integrity and security,” he warned.

“Organizations that capitalize on the bene­fits of connected technologies must also be committed to safeguarding the collection, management and analysis of all the data that comes with it. Modern computing power makes taking these steps easier and more affordable than ever before.”

James Amend is a senior editor at Wards Auto in Southfield.

Accelerating Innovation: Tight-knit entrepreneurial ecosystem helping to boost state’s economy

By Melissa Anders

A large and growing network of incubators, accelerators, research facilities and startups is driving Michigan forward in its campaign to position itself as a leader in the next-generation technology and mobility race.

Business accelerators and incubators help startups get off the ground by providing guidance, services and resources they might not otherwise know how to access. While these organizations can offer access to capital, their main focus is on other types of assistance such as mentorship from experienced industry leaders, networking, market research, office space and general business support. Since so many startups fail, entrepreneurs turn to incubators and accelerators to help them beat the odds and grow into successful businesses.

These organizations are helping to bring new technology for automotive and the Internet of Things (IoT) to market while promoting Michigan as a forerunner in not only automotive, but also IT, data and advanced manufacturing.

“It really is an ecosystem of service providers, catalyst connectors and then corporate partners and investors who help these companies grow,” said NextEnergy president and CEO Jean Redfield.

NextEnergy offers a wide range of services, including R&D demonstration programs, labs, incubator space and business consulting.

Each year a cohort of eight to 15 companies or pre-startup research teams go through NextEnergy’s seven-week accelerator program called I-Corps Energy and Transportation. Participants learn the “lean startup” methodology and are sent into the field to conduct as many as 100 customer interviews in an effort to speed up the commercialization of their technologies.

NextEnergy provides participants with a network of about 100 industry advisors to help along the way. Upon completion, a number of participants have found their first customer or pilot opportunities and/or earned investment or government funding, Redfield said.

The Macomb-OU INCubator is a more traditional business incubator that is operated in conjunction with the city of Sterling Heights, Macomb County and Oakland University. Its incubator space is located in the Velocity building in the Technology Advancement SmartZone of Sterling Heights.

The incubator has assisted companies in a wide range of industries, such as cybersecurity business Blackbourne Worldwide and LogiCoul Solutions, which develops technology to improve lead acid and lithium ion batteries.

Velocity also is home to the Michigan Cyber Range, a space where companies can perform cybersecurity tests. This area has become increasingly important as automotive and defense companies deploy more connected and autonomous vehicles. Most small businesses can’t afford their own labs, so they can rent hours on the range, says Vicky Rad, Macomb County’s deputy director of planning and development.

The county offers guidance to companies in their early stages as well as once they are ready to mature and graduate by helping them find permanent office space and a talented workforce, Rad said.

“It’s kind of like the unspoken gem in the room as companies understand the value of having somebody to help guide them through the process,” she said. “Historically the companies that are here in Macomb County all started off as a startup at one point and they’re definitely our bread and butter, so we want to continue to see that growth.”

More than 9,300 people have attended events hosted by the Macomb-OU INCubator since 2012. It has helped create more than 220 high-tech jobs and retain about 360 jobs, according to its website.

Across the state, Seamless in Grand Rapids pairs IoT startups with major Michigan-based companies in the office, consumer product, retail, health care and transportation industries. Seamless provides a soft landing spot where startups can collaborate with these West Michiganbased enterprises to test and commercialize emerging technologies.

While other accelerators promote startups that strive to disrupt major industry players, Seamless bills itself as a commercialization program that intentionally builds collaboration between enterprises and startups, said Mike Morin, chief operating officer at Seamless and parent organization Start Garden.

Fourteen startups have been through the program in just more than a year. The intensive program compresses about 18 months of work into 12 weeks, saving the startups both time and money, Morin said. Upon completion, they can enter further development contracts, sourcing agreements, or technology licensing agreements. For example, Seamless connected AlSentis, a provider of innovative touch recognition technologies, with office furniture maker Steelcase and auto supplier Faurecia. The companies became investors in AlSentis and are working to deploy products utilizing its technology.

Melissa Anders is a metro Detroit native and freelance writer.