The Mobility State: Bold Steps Needed to Maintain Michigan’s Leadership in CAV Development
By Kelly Weatherwax
Positioning Michigan as the global epicenter of automotive and mobility technology is essential for the state’s future. That was the key message expressed during Forward Detroit and MICHauto’s Investor Briefing: Why Michigan Needs to Own Leadership in Mobility in September.
“This is the biggest opportunity of this generation, if not the next two and Detroit is not moving fast enough,” explained Chris Thomas, founder and partner of Fontinalis Partners LLC, during his keynote presentation. “We have the resources to make sure we are creating the next billion-dollar companies here in our backyard and if we are only testing we will not be groundbreaking.”
Additional speakers included: David Palmer, director of business partnerships for the Workforce Intelligence Network, who shared the recently released “Regional Plan for Connected and Automated Transportation Systems Assets and Initiatives”; and Trevor Pawl, group vice president of PlanetM, Pure Michigan Business Connect, and International Trade for the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
The briefing was moderated by Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber.
“What happened to the music industry with the iPod is poised to happen to the automotive industry with mobility if we do not capitalize on this moment in time,” urged Pawl.
Additional key takeaways from the briefing included:
Mobility is broader than we think about; autonomous vehicles are only one part of a larger picture that includes all modes of transportation: air, land and sea.
Cybersecurity for autonomous vehicles is a must have and cannot be an afterthought in the conversation.
The number of adults with postsecondary degrees in Detroit is lagging considerably and more work is needed to improve education outcomes.
The Detroit region needs more highly-skilled workers to fill open positions in the automotive industry, otherwise, companies will look elsewhere.
There are currently more patents coming out of Silicon Valley in automotive-related technologies than in Detroit. This is concerning since the core automotive industry is in Michigan.
From progressive legislation to the nation’s first connected construction zone, Michigan is leading, but to win the race in connected technology more needs to be done.
Kelly Weatherwax is the integrated marketing manager at the Detroit Regional Chamber.
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