Why Michigan Matters to Mobility

Gary S. Vasilash

The day that Trevor Pawl, group vp, Michigan Economic Development Corp., and the point man for the MEDC’s PlanetM initiative, came to the “Autoline After Hours” studio in suburban Detroit, snow was falling with flakes the size of marshmallows. Which is relevant because through PlanetM, Pawl is working to attract companies that are working to develop autonomous technology to the Great Lakes State, and, as Pawl points out, one advantage that Michigan offers compared with other states that are doing the same is that Michigan has four seasons. And if you’re going to have an autonomous vehicle, chances are you’re not going to keep it in the garage when it isn’t sunny outside.


But Michigan, he explains, has a whole lot more than four seasons.

Michigan is the number-one vehicle-producing state.

Michigan has seven global or North American R&D headquarters.

Michigan has eight OEM R&D facilities.

Michigan has 81 global suppliers’ North American headquarters of tech centers.

Meaning that Michigan has the sort of infrastructure that can help transform ideas about autonomous technology into tangible products on the road.

Pawl explains all this and how Michigan is working to help startup companies—companies that might otherwise be in places like Silicon Valley—thrive and prosper in Michigan.

He talks about how they work with tech incubator Techstars Mobility. He talks about the AutoMobili-D conference that is held in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and how AutoMobili-D led to more than 400 meetings between startups and established companies in the mobility space.

Pawl talks with Autoline’s John McElroy, Dustin Walsh of Crain’s Detroit Business, and me.

And then McElroy, Walsh and I discuss a number of subjects, including whether diesel has had it given that FCA has announced that when it comes to passenger cars, it is done with them, and that the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, Germany, said that Stuttgart and Dusseldorf can legally ban older diesel vehicles from their cities.

We talk about Fred Diaz, the new North American CEO of Mitsubishi Motors. About how Jeep is a 2018 “Cult Brand” honoree. And a whole lot more.

Which you can see right here.