Ann Arbor SPARK recently had the opportunity to participate in the Autotech Council’s summit on autonomous vehicles. The Autotech Council is a Silicon Valley-based organization focused on increasing the amount of innovation in the automotive industry.
At the summit, Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK, shared the Ann Arbor region’s success in growing the autonomous and connected vehicle ecosystem. His highlights included the 3,000 connected vehicle safety pilot through U.S. DOT, the Mobility Transformation Center at the University of Michigan, and some of the best automotive talent in the world. He also shared how the region is poised to become a center for testing, R&D and commercialization with plans to transform the Willow Run facility into an autonomous vehicle testing facility.
In addition to Ann Arbor SPARK, the Detroit Regional Chamber, DTE Energy, Walbridge, the Center for Automotive Research and VantagePort were in attendance, representing some of the tremendous automotive assets of this region.
The previous evening, the Michigan delegation hosted a dinner for firms in Silicon Valley to learn more about Michigan. SPARK had the opportunity to share good news about Michigan, including the wealth of software developers in southeast Michigan that has allowed firms like Barracuda Networks to grow substantially within the Ann Arbor region. Companies throughout Silicon Valley, and the world, compete for talent, and the deep talent pool here is a critical differentiator to businesses looking for a place to locate or expand.
Ann Arbor SPARK’s participation in the Autotech Council summit also provided an opportunity to connect with location decision makers, automotive R&D facilities and companies that have a presence in Michigan and California.