PlanetM Mobility Grants provide aid to mobility startups and corporations to test, validate and prove out new technologies on Michigan roadways and air space, or at one of the state’s premier testing facilities, including the American Center for Mobility (ACM), Mcity at the University of Michigan and GM Mobility Research Center at Kettering University.
Keweenaw Research Center (KRC) at Michigan Technological University (MTU) in Calumet and the Michigan Unmanned Aerial Systems Consortium (MUASC) in Alpena are the newest PlanetM testing facility partners. These organizations will ensure testing opportunities are available statewide and join the ACM, Mcity and Kettering University as testing, education and product development centers for connected and automated vehicles.
"We are thrilled to be recognized as a necessary infrastructure supporting testing, mission management and education for commercial Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) operations in Michigan,” said Jim Makowske, chief executive officer of MUASC. “The UAS community will benefit from MUASC’s continuous efforts to establish airspace for testing, new partnerships and coordination of operations within our state. PlanetM's inclusion and funding for UAS operators is a major step. MUASC looks forward to helping shape the future of innovation by supporting our operators, and the other test sites, to meet the challenges ahead with the next generation of solutions."
"Since 1954, customers have been testing vehicles at KRC,” said Jay Meldrum, director of the Keweenaw Research Center. “More than 900 acres of test courses include ride and handling loops, vehicle dynamics areas, smooth ice rinks, rough ice rinks, icy slopes of different grades (angles), high and low friction areas for anti-lock brake testing, and refrigeration units to freeze vehicles down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. As the world contemplates the operation of semi and fully autonomous vehicles, inevitably they will need to consider both lousy weather, rough roads and what we like to call “unstructured environments.” Our consistently lousy weather, spotty cellular coverage, and unstructured roads and terrain, partnered with a world class research university, make KRC the perfect place to validate next generation autonomous vehicle technologies."
To better support all-sized mobility companies, PlanetM is rebranding its grant program, previously titled “PlanetM Startup Grant,” to “PlanetM Mobility Grant.”
“We’re proud to support projects that have a meaningful impact in our communities, and that serve as a model for mobility startups and corporations globally,” said Trevor Pawl, group vice president of PlanetM. “Providing funding – whether to pilot programs and their partners or for testing opportunities – helps new ideas come to fruition, as well as connecting these companies with the state’s ideal ecosystem. The PlanetM Mobility Grant furthers our mission to position Michigan as the global epicenter for mobility deployment, and hopefully encourages other states to help companies test and deploy future mobility solutions in their regions.”