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Why Michigan

Mobility icon why Michigan

Michigan stands at a historical threshold as the preeminent place for automakers and auto suppliers, along with entrepreneurs and innovators who are leading the way in the mobility revolution. The state’s economic and cultural history, as well as the vast number of resources available, make Michigan the undisputed global capital of mobility and the place to be for businesses, researchers and entrepreneurs looking to shape the next transportation frontier.

Industry and R&D

Nowhere in the world is there a better industrial landscape for auto and mobility related business than Michigan. The state is the No. 1 U.S. vehicle producer and several auto manufacturers and suppliers are based here or have a major presence here. This includes:

  • Seven global or North American research and development (R&D) headquarters
  • Eight original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) R&D facilities
  • 81 of the top global auto suppliers' North American headquarters or tech centers
  • 61 of the top 100 North American auto suppliers
  • 27 assembly plants


Michigan is ranked No. 1 nationally in concentration of industrial and mechanical engineers, as well as R&D professionals at 3.5 times the national average. Michigan is also leading the nation in its approach to skilled-trades labor, with a workforce of more than 200,000.

Schools and universities in Michigan have specialized programs that focus on automotive technology and design, infrastructure, and other emerging mobility technologies. This includes K-12 programs, such as Square One, and community colleges and university programs at numerous notable and nationally ranked universities:

  • Kettering University
  • Michigan State University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • University of Michigan
  • Washtenaw Community College
  • Wayne State University


The largest deployment of freeway and surface street Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) technology in the United States can be found in Michigan. Currently underway is the construction of 120 miles of a technology-enabled “smart corridors” that will span I-96, I-696, I-94, and US-23. Smart corridors use cameras, sensors and the power of big data to help drivers stay safer, avoid construction, and spend less time in traffic.

Michigan is also home to the first connected vehicle technology freeway work zone in the nation — made possible through a partnership between 3M and Michigan’s Department of Transportation.


Michigan is also home to two permanent and purpose-built autonomous vehicle testing sites. Nowhere else in the U.S. has resources like these facilities:

  • Mcity, a 32-acre connected and autonomous vehicle testing site that opened in 2015 at the University of Michigan. Mcity simulates the broad range of complexities vehicles encounter in urban and suburban environments. It includes approximately five lane-miles of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings, street lights, and obstacles such as construction barriers.
  • The American Center for Mobility (ACM), scheduled to open in late 2017, serves as a national center for connected and automated vehicle (CAV) research, testing, product development, validation, and certification facility. At more than 500 acres, ACM will be used by government, industry, and academia to create and set industry standards and offers diverse driving areas such as a high-speed loop, off-road, urban, rural, residential and commercial environments.


Michigan leads the nation in patents relating to navigation and smart mobility and in 2016, Governor Rick Snyder signed a package of bills making self-driving vehicles legal on state roads. In addition, there are related amendments including the creation of the Michigan Council on Future Mobility to continually update policy makers on future changes needed to remove statutory and regulatory barriers. Together, this allows the state’s mobility industry to grow and test technologies in real-world conditions and situations.

Providing Connections

These innovation and assets create an ecosystem throughout Michigan that will continue to strategically advance the global mobility industry. At PlanetM, we connect current partners and emerging businesses and entrepreneurs alike to accelerate these technologies even further.

To connect with Michigan’s mobility assets, contact Trevor Pawl, Group Vice President of PlanetM.