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150 Companies at AUTOMOBIL-D Show Depth, Range of Innovation Happening in SE Michigan

Most of us attending the North American International Auto Show want to experience up-close the latest and coolest brand defining launches of the year. But as the Director of Mobility Programs at Ann Arbor SPARK my interest goes beyond that and my curiosity leaves me wanting to get an inside look at what the future holds for the industry and for the consumer.



Most of my time at NAIAS was spent in the Automobili-D section, which featured 150 exhibiting companies focused on the rapidly evolving, global automotive, and mobility landscape. There was definitely a growing Michigan presence even in this section with representation from the area’s Universities, the two test beds – Mcity and the American Center for Mobility – and startups like Navya, May Mobility, PolySync, Carma Car, Inventev, Spectalite, and Derq, which recently became a client of Ann Arbor SPARK. In addition to the exhibiting companies, it also has had over 100 experts in the field discuss various mobility related opportunities and challenges.


Trends worth mentioning 

The trend that caught my eye was the growing focus on the customer experience in the advent of advancing technology and emergence of new business models. From the OEMs, to the suppliers, to the disruptive startups, all are focusing on, ”What will the future of mobility look like for you and me?” This focus was evident, even in the discussions on the floor around cybersecurity, connectivity, automation, electric vehicles, shared mobility, and smart cities.

The focus was also evident in the interactive display booths that demonstrated future consumer’s physical and the virtual interactions. You can experience a ride in an automated vehicle like the Ann Arbor based May Mobility, with their simulation of their pilot in Detroit, or experience Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) simulation of a road crossing through virtual reality glasses at Autotalks. For those looking to try a different mode of transport there is the foldable electric scooters that you can take for a spin like the URB-E  or the Detroit Based Airspace X with a multi-mission electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for on demand passenger mobility.

Also new this year were the Planet M awards sponsored by Michigan Economic Development Corporation that honored companies excelling in Autonomous Driving (CARMERA Autonomous Map ), Connected Car (EVO Rear Seat Entertainment ), eMobility(URB-E), Mobility Services (Parkofon) and Smart Cities (Immotor GO II). Governor Snyder’s remarks at the award ceremony that AutoMobili-D is “the premier mobility technology event in the U.S.” It is clear that this is our future and AutoMobili-D will get you excited for it.