MACKINAC ISLAND – Wednesday at the Mackinac Policy Conference, Gov. Whitmer announced a new program to advance smart infrastructure initiatives and put the future of automotive technology on display during the 2020 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge will call upon industry innovators to propose dynamic technology deployments that embody how automated and connected vehicle technology can transform how we live, work and play. The specific projects for the challenge will be determined based on proposals submitted through a Request for Proposals that was released Wednesday.

Lt. Gov. Gilchrist (left) Gov. Whitmer 

“The world will be watching NAIAS 2020, and there is no better time to come together and show Michigan’s innovation and real-world deployment of new transportation technologies that will advance our state’s technology and automotive landscape,” Gov. Whitmer said. “That commitment to maintaining our edge in mobility, while improving the lives and safety of Michigan residents and visitors is why it is so critical we get to work to fix, and fund, the roads and infrastructure across the state.”

The Challenge will showcase cutting-edge technologies by providing new, innovative mobility solutions for travel between Cobo Center and destinations including transportation hubs, hotels, restaurants and local points of interest. The technology demonstration(s) will be encompassed by a single mobile app that provides a seamless user-experience across the various projects.

The Challenge will highlight Michigan’s global leadership in developing smart infrastructure and reaffirm NAIAS’s role as a global platform for new transportation reveals, running in concert with the full lineup of NAIAS 2020 activities.

The Challenge is being led by the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s mobility initiative, PlanetM. MDOT and MEDC/PlanetM will collaborate with local stakeholders to determine desired routes, requirements, timelines and funding levels. Industry partners will also be asked to team up with academic partners to document the effectiveness and public acceptance of the mobility solutions that are selected and demonstrated. All of this information will be included in the final request for proposal (RFP).

“I applaud the governor’s vision in conceiving this initiative, and our team at MDOT is eager to expand mobility options for everyone,” said MDOT Director Paul C. Ajegba. “I am especially excited about this technology’s potential to reduce crashes and injuries. Safety is paramount at MDOT and underscores everything we do.”

The Challenge will further establish Michigan as a leader in the future of mobility by showcasing emerging mobility solutions in a real world deployment, demonstrating Michigan’s roadways as a proving ground for automated vehicles solutions and highlighting the rich automotive ecosystem the state offers to companies at all stages – from startup to OEMs.

“It is critical that we not only build on our heritage as a leader in manufacturing, but that we also continue to position Michigan as a leader in high-tech industries and as a place where big ideas in mobility are born, developed and deployed,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “The 2020 NAIAS Michigan Mobility Challenge builds on a century of automotive ingenuity and technical know-how that sets Michigan apart as a global leader in the industry.”

The NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge builds on the $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge  announced at last year’s Mackinac Policy Conference to address core mobility gaps for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and veterans across the state. Since then, thirteen pilot projects have been announced, including the final four projects  which were announced by Governor Whitmer at the 2019 North American International Auto Show.

“The June 2020 North American International Auto Show will bring visitors from all over the globe to Detroit to experience the mobility revolution,” said Doug North, 2020 NAIAS Chairman. “On behalf of the NAIAS team, I would like to thank the Governor and the State of Michigan for taking on this incredible initiative. Their NAIAS Michigan Mobility Challenge will spotlight and be the perfect example of the many amazing ground-breaking innovations Michigan has to offer.”

For more information on the NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge visit https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,1607,7-151-9625_32842—,00.html .