PlanetM awarded grants to HAAS Alert, Humanising Autonomy and RoadBotics to launch pilots that address real-world transportation challenges throughout Michigan as part of the PlanetM Startup Grant program. One of the first of its kind, the PlanetM Pilot Grants provide mobility startups funds to deploy and validate their technologies in Michigan.

“The PlanetM Pilot Grants bring innovative and practical solutions to critical mobility challenges facing Michigan residents, municipalities and institutions every single day,” said Amanda Roraff, operations manager of PlanetM, the state of Michigan’s mobility-focused brand and business development program. “The pilots in the program will have a meaningful impact on our communities and serve as a model for cities around the globe facing similar challenges.”


HAAS Alert

In partnership with Grand Rapids Police, Fire, and Life EMS, HAAS Alert will deploy a first-in-the-nation complete citywide digital alert solution. The pilot will test real-time notifications to drivers when responders are en route to a call or on-scene via Responder-to-Vehicle (R2V™) technology. HAAS Alert is also working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) rideshare drivers to deliver safety messages.

“Collisions between emergency vehicles and civilian motorists is the leading cause of injury and death to first responders and can cost cities millions on average every time an incident occurs, of which there are more than 60,000 every year just in the U.S. alone,” said Cory Hohs, CEO of HAAS Alert. “We are looking forward to working with the State of Michigan and Grand Rapids to deliver a service that will aid motorists, public safety and other roadway operators alike in preventing collisions and saving lives. And, we are honored to bring service for the first time specifically to people who are deaf or hard of hearing and expect to learn a lot from the pilot.”

Humanising Autonomy

By building human-centered tools, Humanising Autonomy improves safety and efficiency of autonomous mobility systems through better understanding of human behavior. As part of their pilot, Humanising Autonomy will collaborate with Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority to test bus driver alerts in an effort to help predict pedestrian, cyclists and vulnerable road user actions.

“We are thrilled about the award of the PlanetM Pilot Grant. This pilot will allow us to grow our product and customer base into the heart of the American mobility industry and apply our technology to improve the safety of public buses for pedestrians and vulnerable road users,” said Maya Pindeus, CEO and Co-Founder of Humanising Autonomy.


An infrastructure technology company, RoadBotics specializes in using artificial intelligence (AI) to generate automated pavement condition data. RoadBotics will use the grant to implement its AI pavement inspection technology into Detroit’s roads to analyze the condition of the City’s 2,600-mile road network and build a robust data-driven pavement management strategy for the City of Detroit. The program will help engineers determine where to objectively allocate resources and maximize investment. The City of Detroit will also use this data to expand its road asset database as part of its broader data-driven asset management strategy for the City’s Right of Way. As part of the pilot, RoadBotics will also be testing its new crack-detection application.

“Detroit is the iconic American city of the automobile, which means that it’s also the epicenter for American road management. This is why it is so exciting that the City of Detroit will utilize our AI pavement inspection technology. By using machine learning to evaluate the pavement conditions, the resulting data we provide is highly objective, transparent and reliable for decision-making, said Mark DeSantis, CEO of RoadBotics. “It is most exciting that the support of PlanetM and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation is not only catalyzing the City of Detroit to receive this comprehensive assessment, but also enabling RoadBotics to deploy – for the first time – our brand new AI Maintenance (AIM) tool for unsealed cracks, which will assist Detroit’s preventative maintenance efforts and help extend the life of all their roads.”

Derq, a Dubai-and-Detroit-based traffic safety tech startup, received the first PlanetM Pilot Grant in June to pilot their technology in Detroit.

“This unique, collaborative approach helps the startups accelerate the path to commercialization and brings essential mobility technologies here to Michigan.” said Roraff. “This program further solidifies Michigan as the place to test, deploy and validate mobility technologies and we’re excited to welcome HAAS Alert, Humanising Autonomy and Roadbotics to Michigan’s robust mobility ecosystem.”


Global mobility startups can still apply for a PlanetM Startup Grant to test, validate and prove out new technologies on Michigan roadways or at one of Michigan’s testing facilities including American Center for MobilityMcity at the University of Michigan and Kettering University GM Mobility Research Center.

There will be two more rounds of Pilot Grant recipients this year. The deadline for round two is February 1 and the deadline for round three is June 1. PlanetM will review Testing Grant applications on a monthly basis until September 2019.

Learn more about the PlanetM Startup Grants at an upcoming informational session at 12 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11 at NextEnergy Detroit. Panelists from Michigan Department of Transportation, the American Center for Mobility, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), Kettering University, and Derq, will join PlanetM to share insight about the program and application process. Click here to register to attend in person or via webinar.

To read the full press release, click here.

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Source: SPARK