MICHIGAN — The Michigan Mobility Funding Platform, a grant program desgined by the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) that provides grants to mobility and electrification companies looking to deploy their technology solutions in the state of Michigan, announced three new grants today.
Three companies will receive $178,000 in total funding for the real-world testing and deployment of mobility projects across the state. With these grants, Michigan will enable new solutions that use mobility technologies in key industries to deliver life-saving medications, maximize environmentally-conscious travel experiences and create more walkable, bikeable and accessible streets.
In a press release, the Office of Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist laid out the grants:
Bedestrian ($90,000 – Dearborn)
COVID-19 put a significant amount of stress on the world’s healthcare systems, increasing clinical workloads with additional tasks like donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) between isolated patients, patient positioning and the increased intensity of care required to handle rapid influxes of patients. Simultaneously, staffing shortages resulted in more work for shorthanded teams.
Sitting at the intersection of mobility and healthcare is robotics manufacturer Bedestrian. Located in Ann Arbor and Plymouth, Bedestrian develops robots designed to free pharmacy and nursing staff from more non-essential, redundant tasks. The technology allows staff to focus on critical patient-centered duties, helping to increase safety, improve care efficiencies and reduce burnout.
With MMFP assistance, Bedestrian will deploy an autonomous robot in the Dearborn Hospital at Corewell Health that will transport chemotherapy medications from the hospital’s pharmacy lab to its cancer center clinics. The pilot program will demonstrate the robot’s ability to safely navigate corridors and around people, as well as test human-machine interactions with the robot. Bedestrian aims to showcase the effectiveness of robotic delivery in health systems as well as the potential of robotic logistics in other complex internal work environments, like manufacturing or travel.
The Bedestrian robotic vehicle is designed and built locally, leveraging Michigan’s rich mobility ecosystem of suppliers and strategic partners. Specifically, Bedestrian is partnering with Michigan businesses Innovationworks and Navv Systems for this deployment. Working with leading healthcare systems, Bedestrian is creating sustainable and technology-forward job opportunities in mobility and healthcare. The manufacturer is also hiring and training Michigan graduates in new robotics skills, as well as specific skills for healthcare environments.
“At the opportune intersection of robotics, mobility and healthcare, the OFME and forward-looking leadership and team at Corewell Health are collectively bringing mobility innovations to healthcare and high-tech jobs to Michigan,” said Shadi Mere, CEO of Bedestrian. “This is an investment toward making healthcare better and more innovative that will prepare and propel Michigan well into the future.”
Keweenaw Mountain Lodge ($8,000 – Copper Harbor)
The travel and tourism industry is undergoing a major change as demands for sustainable travel solutions continue to rise. As a result, companies are cutting carbon emissions, and working to protect and restore their surrounding ecosystems while supporting the well-being of local communities.
Named one of the top 13 resorts in the nation by Travel and Leisure, Keweenaw Mountain Lodge believes in the power of bringing people closer to nature. Sitting on 32 acres of preserved natural beauty, Keweenaw Mountain Lodge is unique, as it’s the only private entity in Michigan located within an International Dark Sky Park. Visitors stay in historical cabins and have unfiltered access to Michigan’s starry skies at nighttime.
Eco-conscious visitors come to the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge to reconnect with nature, experience the beauty of the night skies and to disconnect from everyday life. In the past, the Lodge installed EV chargers to help attract these eco-tourists. Now, the Lodge is taking the next step in its sustainability journey with the installation of dimmable street lights across the property.
With MMFP support, the Lodge will install street lights across its property capable of being turned on or dimmed on command, cabin-by-cabin. These new street light systems, which staff will be able to control remotely, will allow visitors to better see the night skies and enjoy more comfortable sleeping experiences – all while helping the Lodge save on energy costs.
“Here at Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, we believe everyone deserves to enjoy the beauty of nature, and do so sustainably,” said John Mueller, chief lead at Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. “We’re thankful to the OFME team as well as the State of Michigan for believing in the value of sustainable travel and helping us improve our customer experience.”
Numia ($80,000 – Corktown, Detroit)
With support from the MMFP, Numina will deploy its sensor technology in Corktown to measure how all things – not just cars – move in streets to help urban planners design more walkable, bikeable and accessible streets.
Using its proprietary, computer vision-based sensor, Numina detects the presence and paths of pedestrians, bicyclists, different types of vehicles and other objects in streets and public spaces — converting this totally anonymous behavior data into analytics for cities and communities. Numina will take a Privacy-by-Design approach, contributing to the City of Detroit’s efforts to create safer and more accessible streets for all.
By providing stakeholders with detailed, anonymous data on street usage, Numina’s solution will help identify opportunities for street design and policy improvements that benefit bicyclists, pedestrians, micromobility and different neighborhood activities, all of which are often left out of planning and policy conversations.
“Expanding on a small pilot we did with community partners on Michigan Avenue over the last couple of years, we are excited and honored to now work with the MMFP to grow our presence in Corktown and bring visibility – and solutions – to transportation equity issues that affect Detroiters, ” said Tara Pham, CEO of Numia.
As part of the announcement, Justine Johnson, Chief Mobility Officer for the State of Michigan said, “Mobility isn’t just about planes, trains and automobiles. That’s why Michigan is thinking holistically about how people and goods move across the state, and pursuing opportunities to use mobility solutions as a catalyst to create better living experiences. Through their innovative programs, this latest cohort of grant recipients will showcase how mobility technology can improve efficiencies in other critical sectors in our state, such as healthcare, travel and urban planning.”
To learn more about how Michigan is leading in transportation mobility and electrification, visit www.michiganbusiness.org/