Five startups – Bedestrian, EasyMile, Hi-Ho Mobility, NAVENTIK, and NAVYA – have received a total of more than $440,000 in PlanetM Mobility Grants and have access to two new PlanetM testing facility partners at Keweenaw Research Center at Michigan Technological University in Calumet and the Michigan Unmanned Aerial Systems Consortium (MUASC) in Alpena.
“Each startup selected offers a thoughtful solution to accessibility and transportation challenges across the state,” says Amanda Roraff, operations manager of PlanetM, the state’s mobility-focused brand and business development program. “These startups will have a lasting impact in industries such as healthcare, where patients have identified barriers to mobility, and in higher education, where students have identified challenges to affordable and accessible transportation options.”
Ann Arbor-based Bedestrian was awarded a $100,000 PlanetM Mobility Grant and with support from DENSO, and working with Beaumont Health, will deploy an autonomous delivery vehicle onsite at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn. Set to launch in late 2019, the pilot will transport pharmaceuticals from the pharmacy lab to the cancer center.
“We look forward to demonstrating how collaboration with innovative teams at DENSO and Beaumont Health will lead to innovation at the forefront of the intersection of health and mobility,” says Shadi T. Mere, CEO of Bedestrian.
At Oakland University in Rochester Hills, EasyMile of Denver, Colo. is using its $103,000 PlanetM Mobility Grant to launch an autonomous, student-operated campus shuttle service.
“The EasyMile shuttle will provide our students and faculty the opportunity to learn about autonomous systems and collect valuable data to improve this technology,” says Louay M. Chamra, dean and professor at Oakland University.
Through a partnership with Battle Creek’s Aequitas Mobility Services, Canada’s Hi-Ho Mobility will use its $80,000 PlantM Mobility Grant to pilot a chain-of-custody integrated software and hardware solution to provide secure prescription drug delivery to rural homes in the Battle Creek area.
“Our customizable smart lockers with access through smartphones solves the need for physical security of sensitive goods in the field,” says Mike Janzen, chief technology officer of Hi-Ho Mobility. “It also provides the digital access, chain-of-custody tracking and analytics that are demanded by clients in the 21st century.”
Through a partnership with Dataspeed of Rochester Hills, Germany’s NAVENTIK won a $75,000 PlantM Mobility Grant to bring its software-based GPS receiver technology to the U.S.
“After successful integration projects with major automakers including Volkswagen in Germany, we are eager to provide our software satellite navigation receiver also to the U.S. market,” says Peter Kalinowski, chief financial officer of NAVENTIK. “The project with Dataspeed will prove that our USP is also valid for North American regions. We look forward to deploying our solution in a traditional automotive hotspot like Detroit.”
Ann Arbor’s NAVYA is applying its $85,000 PlanetM Mobility Grant the deployment of an autonomous shuttle to help improve paratransit services in an area surrounding the Detroit Medical Center (DMC).
“This deployment will serve as the example of how to utilize autonomous technologies to create a comprehensive mobility service catering to all populations,” says Patrick Pylypuik, vice president of North American sales for NAVYA.
PlantM Mobility also identified two new partner testing facilities where mobility startups and corporations can test, validate, and prove out new technologies.
The new test partners are the Keweenaw Research Center at Michigan Technological University in Calumet and the Michigan Unmanned Aerial Systems Consortium (MUASC) in Alpena.