Mobility in Michigan

The auto industry is changing. And Michigan is doing so right along with it

By Gary S. Vasilash

To be sure, the world is chasing advanced mobility solutions, things that will include cars and trucks as we know them—more or less—as well as other modes of transportation, be they electric scooters or air taxis.

Of the places in the world where this is probably focused on more than almost anywhere else is Michigan, given that the southeastern part of the state is where cars and trucks as we know them originally emerged in sufficient numbers that, well, we know them. (While Henry Ford didn’t “invent” the automobile nor the truck, what he did do was create a system whereby those things became accessible to regular people: manufacturing operations may not be the sexiest of things, that’s how Ford, as the phrase has it, “put the world on wheels.”)

Detroit Smart Parking Lab (Image: Ford)

Certainly there are other places where mobility is of intense interest, whether it is Silicon Valley or Stuttgart.

So the state of Michigan appointed its first chief mobility officer, Trevor Pawl. And we have him on this edition of “Autoline After Hours.”

Pawl’s undertakings in this position are wide ranging.

For example, the State announced it is working with Ford, Bedrock and Bosch to launch what is described as “the nation’s first-of-its-kind, real-world test site for emerging parking technology.” Yes, parking. It is the “Detroit Smart Parking Lab.”

About a year ago the state announced that it would be building what is described as “a first-in-the-nation connected and autonomous vehicle corridor” between Detroit and Ann Arbor, again working with a number of partners (including Ford—that company is serious about the future of transportation).

And Pawl and his team are working on the ways and means to get seniors and the disabled to where they need to go. They are working on the build-out of charging infrastructure.

And a whole lot more.

Pawl talks with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, automotive analyst Stephanie Brinley of IHS Markit, and me on the show.

And you can see it all here.

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