DETROIT – PlanetM, the state accelerator for the Michigan mobility industry, handed out two awards this week at Automobili-D, the mobility show spinout of the North American International Auto Show.
Wise Systems, an autonomous dispatch and routing system for fleets, was named 2019 Techstars Startup of the Year, while WaveSense, developers of a ground-penetrating radar system to help autonomous vehicles navigate challenging conditions like snow, fog, or poor lane markings, was named PlanetM Awards Best in Show.
The awards were presented by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist on the Automobili-D stage at Cobo Center to WaveSense’s CEO and co-founder Tarik Bolat and CTO and co-founder Byron Stanley.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by PlanetM as a leader in safety in autonomous vehicle technology,” Bolat said. “We are grateful to our automotive partners in the industry who are actively working with WaveSense to deliver robust and reliable autonomous vehicle navigation.”
More than 60 mobility startups, hailing from 10 countries, demonstrated their mobility technologies in Detroit this week at Automobili-D. Since inception, the startup footprint at Automobili-D has grown by 59 percent, and 77 percent of this year’s exhibitors are first-timers at the event.
“Advances in new mobility have come a long way since the inaugural Automobili-D in 2017,” said Trevor Pawl, group vice president of PlanetM. “The startups exhibiting this year illustrate those advances in an eye-opening way, from new technologies in mapping and hardware to new applications and partnerships in IoT, advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity.”
PlanetM and Techstars also invited 16 mobility startups exhibiting at Automobili-D to pitch in front of a roster of judges, including representatives from Bosch, Denso, Ford, Lear and other mobility stakeholders.
“The annual startup pitch competition is an excellent opportunity for innovative startups to share their technologies and vision with the leading mobility companies and stakeholders,” said Ted Serbinski, managing director of Techstars. “This year’s event was one of the most competitive competitions to date. It brought 17 remarkable mobility startups from around the world to present their business in Detroit in front of automakers, suppliers and venture capital firms.”
In its second year, PlanetM, Automobili-D and NAIAS hosted the PlanetM Awards to honor enterprises developing innovative and mobility-focused platforms and technologies. NAIAS provides the platform for companies in this industry to showcase their products, services, and technologies. Self-nomination for award consideration is open to all Automobili-D exhibitors.
PlanetM selected judges based on their hands-on experience within each mobility category. Judges represent small businesses, large enterprise companies, mobility venture capital groups, and smart city government organizations.
“We received many impressive applications this year for our outstanding lineup of judges to consider,” said Jake Sigal, Detroit serial entrepreneur and co-host of the PlanetM Awards. “I have no doubt that the products on display at Automobili-D will go on to transform mobility.”