PlanetM Grants $300,000 to Four Companies to Deploy Mobility Solutions Across Michigan

The Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s mobility initiative, PlanetM, announced in early May that four companies – Adastec, IXR Mobility, KTISIS, and Safemode – have received more than $300,000 in grants to deploy mobility solutions in the state.
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Adastec autonomous electric bus
Adastec is partnering with MSU to bring an autonomous electric bus to campus in 2021. // Image courtesy of Adastec

The Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s mobility initiative, PlanetM, announced in early May that four companies – Adastec, IXR Mobility, KTISIS, and Safemode – have received more than $300,000 in grants to deploy mobility solutions in the state.

The companies’ mobility solutions include automated vehicles, transportation options, and improved roadway and vehicle safety. Pilots will be deployed in Detroit, East Lansing, Lansing, and the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.

“We’re thrilled to be able to support a unique group of pilots addressing a wide range of mobility pain points in this round of grant funding,” says Charlie Tyson, technology activation manager at PlanetM. “The work they are doing will not only create more accessible, safer, and efficient transportation options, but is also enabling growth and sustainability here in Michigan as we look to the future.”

Adastec, which has offices in Detroit and San Francisco, received $100,000 from the grant and is partnering with Michigan State University to bring a full-size, electric Level 4 automated bus to the East Lansing campus in 2021.

The Adastec Open Automated Bus Platform, named TEC-Drive, will service a 7-mile route and will be complete with vehicle compute, sensor, mapping, and safety equipment. The open bus platform gives flexibility to bus manufacturers, allowing them to build the best configurations for operators. The bus is designed to follow pre-defined public road routes.

“When the history of autonomous vehicles is charted, we will see the major role played by Michigan, its companies, and its people,” says Ali Peker, CEO of Adastec. “We believe, together, we can build a safer more sustainable future that starts with Michigan and brings value to communities across the United States and the world.”

Safemode, an Israeli company that is connected to Michigan through the Michigan Israeli Business Accelerator, partnered with the Volvo Group and Transdev and received $100,000 from PlanetM to put toward their mobility solution.

Safemode’s behavior-based software will allow Transdev drivers to gain insights into their fleet by accessing driving data, coaching features, and monetary incentive programs to follow safety and efficiency improvements. The project will be deployed in Lansing and expects to reduce road accidents, save in fuel consumption, and increase driver satisfaction and retention.

“Joining forces with both automakers and global leaders in transportation, our cutting-edge behavioral-AI technology will transform the way fleets, managers, and drivers are engaging and thinking of driving,” says Ido Levy, founder and CEO of SafeMode.

KTISIS, which has an office in Sterling Heights, received $75,000 in grants from PlanetM and partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense and Ball Equipment to produce three sets of KTISIS Infinite Traction Systems (KITS) aimed at increasing vehicle safety and performance. KITS is designed to reduce vehicle stopping distance while improving cornering that is especially effective in poor weather and road conditions. While it can be retrofitted to any vehicle, the testing will be done on popular off-road vehicles at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes, which are located along Lake Michigan between Muskegon and Ludington.

“Our pilot program presents a tremendous opportunity to showcase our KITS technology in some of the most scenic and challenging test tracks in Michigan this fall,” says Stephen Chue, principal of KTISIS and inventor of KITS.

Detroit-based IXR Mobility received $58,000 and partnered with AARP, Bestmile, and The Literacy Center to improve non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) by providing mobile applications and cloud-based tech for more reliable access to health care for disadvantaged Detroit communities. With the new IXR Mobility Bestmile app, seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities can book and track rides for medical appointments.

“Improving health comes through NEMT mobile technology,” says Ray Smith, mobility project manager at IXR Mobility.

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