Highways in the Sky

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport // Photo courtesy of The Detroit Region Aerotropolis Development Corp.

The Detroit Region Aerotropolis Development Corp. is working to build highways in the wild blue yonder. According to the organization’s 2020 annual report, the economic development zone in southern Wayne County led the nation in advancing air mobility.

In January 2020, the Detroit Aerotropolis licensed the Airspace Link AirHub platform, in partnership with Michigan’s PlanetM and the Michigan Unmanned Aerial Systems Consortium, to establish and test a new low-altitude drone infrastructure in the region. The platform brought new advanced manufacturing prospects to the region, according to the report. It also expanded on the multimodal mobility network that’s often a deciding factor for corporate expansions.

“With our partnership, Aerotropolis is providing the foundation to safely integrate drones into the national airspace and its communities, while providing a foundational drone infrastructure for advanced operations, manufacturing, and innovation,” Michael Healander, president and CEO of Airspace Link, wrote in the report.

During the past year, the Detroit Aerotropolis supported greenfield expansion by marketing 6,000 acres of development-ready land centered near Metro Airport. It also formed a partnership with Kroger and online retail company Ocado that resulted in a $95-million investment in Aerotropolis to support the growing demand for grocery e-commerce services.

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