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Office of Future Mobility and Electrification looking to make roads safer in Michigan

Posted at 5:30 AM, Jul 16, 2020

The new Office of Future Mobility and Electrification in Michigan is meant to explore the future of transportation.

The office's goal includes making the roads safer through autonomous vehicles and new technology.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has appointed Trevor Pawl as the new chief mobility officer.

“The technology is already in the world, the future is going to belong to the city that prepares for it,” Pawl told 7 Action News in a one-on-one interview.

Pawl said the development of autonomous vehicles could help save lives on the roads. Explaining this technology can help cars talk to the roads using technology, allowing for communication between stop signs, other cars, etc.

“Over the last decade, over ten thousand people in Michigan lost their lives due to car crashes; 94% of that is because of human error,” Pawl said.

Using technology can also be leveraged to fix the roads because they start to deteriorate.

“For instance, artificial intelligence that can help predict and prevent potholes, using data, and give the city a heads up that hey, this particular intersection in about to get a little bit more dangerous,” says Pawl.

Other goals of the department will include attracting new businesses to Michigan for the development of autonomous vehicles and making transportation environmentally friendly.

Funding for the new office will come in from the Michigan Economic Development Corporationand from cross department funding.

The Office of Future Mobility and Electrification drafted the following six objectives:

  1. Increase Mobility Investment in Michigan: Generate new investment and job creation from tech companies focused on future mobility, including autonomous and electric vehicle innovation.
  2. Expand Michigan’s Smart Infrastructure: Further develop systems for deploying autonomous and shared transportation.
  3. Engage More Mobility Startups: Establish Michigan as a premier location for young companies to start, scale, commercialize and grow technologies redefining the movement of people and goods.
  4. Further Enable Michigan’s Mobility Workforce: Develop and attract the skills and talent necessary to meet the changing demands of the mobility sector.
  5. Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption in Michigan: Support the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles and expand access to charging infrastructure.
  6. Bolster Michigan’s Mobility Manufacturing Core: Protect the state’s competitiveness in electric and autonomous vehicle manufacturing and ability to move technologies into industrial scale manufacturing.