PlanetM Grant Funding Now Available to Support Mobility Startups

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The American Center for Mobility newest Testing Grant partner

LANSING, Mich.Announced earlier this summer at the ITS Annual Meeting in Detroit, applications for the PlanetM Startup Grant are now live, providing mobility startups with more and better opportunities to validate and prove new technologies in Michigan. The American Center for Mobility is the newest advanced testing facility partner in the program.

There are two types of grants available through the PlanetM Startup Grant: one is for piloting mobility technologies on Michigan roadways, and the other is for testing mobility technologies in a closed environment. Both grants will fuel advancements in technology to solve transportation challenges and make Michigan a leading state for testing and deploying mobility startup technologies.

“This grant program allows companies to focus on testing and deploying their technologies in Michigan instead of worrying about costs and logistics, which are two of the biggest hurdles for mobility startups,” said Amanda Roraff, Operations Manager of PlanetM, the state of Michigan’s mobility-focused brand and business development program. “We encourage mobility startups of all stages, sizes and locations to apply and leverage our robust ecosystem alongside automakers, suppliers and technology companies.”

The startups that receive the Pilot Grant will help address critical transit and infrastructure gaps in Michigan communities by testing new technologies in real-world situations. In partnership with MDOT, Derq, a Dubai- and Detroit-based traffic safety tech startup, was the first Pilot Grant recipient and is currently testing software that uses patented and artificial intelligence to predict and prevent car crashes and create safer walkways for pedestrians at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Randolph Street in downtown Detroit. 

For companies looking to test their technology in advanced, closed-track environments, the Testing Grant offers startups a discounted fee for testing at Mcity in Ann Arbor, and now the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti. In addition to gaining access to these world-class testing facilities, normally out of reach for a small startup, the Testing Grant has the added benefit of relationship building between larger companies and the startups utilizing the track.

“We are proud to partner with PlanetM to give global mobility startups access to our advanced testing facilities,” said Jeffrey Rupp, Chief Technical Officer of American Center for Mobility. “The Testing Grant program will power the next wave of mobility solutions, solidifying Michigan as the place to research, test and deploy mobility technology.”

PlanetM has also partnered on several other initiatives to pilot mobility technology to address transportation challenges across the state, including Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative (Project Kinetic), Grand Rapids City of Tomorrow Challenge and the $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge.

“The evolution of mobility demands collaboration between state, industry, community, advocacy and higher education leaders working together to make sure these technologies raise the quality of life for everyone,” Roraff said. “Whether in an urban core or a rural community, these technologies have the potential to provide our citizens with dignity and improved access to safe, efficient, effective modes of transportation. Where better to test that opportunity than here in Michigan.”

Pilot Grant applications will be reviewed in three rounds. The deadline for the first round is October 1, 2018. Testing Grant applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. For more information and to apply for a PlanetM Startup Grant, visit

About PlanetM

PlanetM is a partnership of mobility organizations, communities, educational institutions, research and development, and government agencies working together to develop and deploy the mobility technologies driving the future. Available to any mobility-focused company or investor, PlanetM is also a no-cost, concierge service that connects startups to Michigan’s automotive ecosystem — the people, places and resources dedicated to the evolution of transportation mobility. Michigan has always been the leader of the automotive industry, and as vehicle and transportation technologies continue to evolve in amazing ways, Michigan is continuing to lead the way. Visit  to learn more. 

About the American Center for Mobility

The American Center for Mobility is a non-profit testing, education and product development facility for future mobility, designed to enable safe validation and self-certification of connected and automated vehicle technology, and to accelerate the development of voluntary standards. ACM is one of 10 U.S. DOT designated Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds in the U.S. ACM is part of PlanetM, a collaborative that represents Michigan’s unique and vast ecosystem, connecting resources and opportunities for its consortium of members. Made up of private industry, government and institutions of higher learning, partners in PlanetM share the common goal of leading the development of smart solutions that will change the way people and goods are transported across all modes of transportation. To learn more about ACM, visit

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.