When Michigan closed the door on 2019, they closed the door onto one of the best years in the state’s history for automotive, advanced manufacturing and high tech job creation in more than a decade. With a track record like that, it’s understandable that Michigan’s continued economic growth was the focus of Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist’s participation this week at CES, the Consumer Electronic Shows in Las Vegas, one of the largest technology-focused trade shows in the world every year.
During the last two days at CES, the Lt. Governor met with a wide variety of companies and executives to strengthen the foundation for continued investment in the state by tech and automotive-focused companies, as well as to solidify Michigan’s continued global leadership in mobility and transportation innovation. Michigan was highlighted as an Innovation Champion by Consumer Technology Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro during opening remarks for the massive CES showcase.
The Lt. Gov. says, “CES offers a tremendous opportunity to meet with businesses, global partners and leaders in technology, mobility and the automotive industry to find new opportunities to bring jobs to Michigan and collaborate on next generation transportation solutions,” and adds, “We want to make sure companies across the world know that Michigan has the talent, the tools and the know-how to turn their technology ideas into reality.”
At CES, Gilchrist met with executives from Ford Motor Company, who just last month announced a $1.45 billion investment and the creation of 3,000 new jobs in the state. As part of that investment, Ford announced it will create a new vehicle modification center in Wayne, Michigan where Ford’s first autonomous vehicles will be completed starting in 2021. The Lt. Governor had the opportunity to discuss Ford’s future plans for electrification and autonomous vehicle efforts as well as demo Ford’s City Insights Platform built and deployed in Ann Arbor and expanding to six additional U.S. cities, including Detroit.
The Lt. Governor also met with company officials from Aisin Group –the largest transmission manufacturer in the world with its North American headquarters in Northville, Michigan – to both strengthen current relationships with the company and learn more about the company’s i-mobility Type-C20 concept vehicle, a bus-like ride-sharing vehicle designed for community use that was unveiled at CES this year.
Other meetings included Mona Keizer, State Secretary of the Netherlands and Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Investment, UK Department of International Trade – both countries that Michigan has active Memorandum of Understandings with to strengthen bilateral cooperation across the technology and automotive sectors.
Looking ahead to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in June of this year, the Lt. Governor previewed to NAIAS 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge with a Yandex ride and drive experience and a meeting with Local Motors – two of the five providers for the Mobility Challenge downtown Detroit circulator experiences announced in October by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Gilchrist also participated in a panel discussion on the evolution of mobility as part of the 2nd Annual Executive Roundtable Breakfast: “Connecting the Last Mile of Mobility,” and helped lead a roundtable discussion with technology executives, investors and startup founders about how public and private sector collaboration is critical to drive change related to future cities and next-gen urban mobility. That roundtable was convened by PlanetM, the mobility initiative of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
Gilchrist was joined by Jeff Mason, CEO of the MEDC at CES. While at CES, MEDC also hosted a matchmaking session to provide connections between qualified, mobility-focused startup companies and similarly focused corporate and investor partners of PlanetM, with 145 meetings scheduled. The match meetings help continue to grow the mobility ecosystem in the state by facilitating investment in Michigan-based startups or by attracting startup companies to Michigan to work with companies already based in the state.
Organized by the Consumer Technology Association, CES showcases more than 4,400 exhibiting companies, including manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems and more; a conference program with more than 250 conference sessions and more than 170,000 attendees from 160 countries.
The photo of an autonomous vehicle accompanying this story on Moody on the Market is from the 2019 CES showcase in Las Vegas.