Mobility Week Detroit events showcase the region’s tech and auto assets to the public

Along with all of the hard work centering on mobility in Michigan, companies and industry leaders also want to share the excitement around how autonomous cars are building an entrepreneurial ecosystem, driving community spirit and changing the health care industry in real and substantial ways.


Getting the word out about automobility and its impact on Detroit and the state is the focus of “Mobility Week Detroit,” which takes place Oct. 7-13, with six spread out across downtown Detroit.


Its goal is to showcase Detroit as the center of autonomous technology and the headquarters for the industry’s brightest minds. Events range from the Detroit Moves mobility festival in Spirit Plaza, to a Demo Day for rising TechStars Mobility startups, to a world research congress on the disruptive autonomous vehicle impact on health care. The week concludes with the MICHauto Summit, bringing the industry leaders and youth together to talk about automobility opportunities across the industry.


These events aim to bring together students, industry partners and the general public together in a way that sparks their collective curiosity and investment in what’s happening across the state and within the Motor City, organizers say.


“Detroit is ground zero – it is the hub for what is going on in mobility,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president, Automotive and Mobility Initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “These events allow us to celebrate that fact and that it is happening right here.”


Partners for these one-of-a-kind gatherings of automotive might including Detroit Moves, PlanetM through the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Henry Ford Health System and Quicken Loans Community Fund. These groups share a common thread: They want people to connect with the autonomous technology movement through tours, demonstrations and educational events linked through the Mobility Week banner.


For Dr. Philip Hessburg, the partnership between health care organizations and the autonomous community has been a long time coming. He is part of the reason Mobility Week is highlighting the important conversations happening Oct. 7 to 9 during the 8th World Research Congress on vision and driving called “The Eye, The Brain & The Auto.”


The event, “features a theme the eye care, medical and connected vehicle industries should have as each works in the same arena,” said Dr. Hessburg, who serves as the medical director for the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology.


Henry Ford Health System is the first system in the nation to put on a Research Congress related to autonomous vehicles, which is appropriate given the region’s investment in this technology, Dr. Hessburg said.


A particularly important keynote speaker at the Congress is Dr. Larry Burns, a former vice president of Research at General Motors Company and is currently a consultant to the Google AV project. Dr. Burns’s book, “Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car – And How It Will Reshape Our World,” came out in late August and is already a best seller on Amazon.


“The death rate now on our highways is over 40,000; we lose as many people on the highways every day as is lost in the opioid crisis,” Dr. Hessburg said. “A vast percentage of the death rate is due to driver error, and we almost totally eliminate driver error by taking over the task of controlling a vehicle.”


Ted Serbinski wants the public and potential investors to attend Techstars Demo Day, which takes place October 9, to see what the graduates of this mobility accelerator have created during their intensive three-month program in Detroit.


Serbinski, managing director for the Mobility program, said Demo Day is the largest mobility startup event in the world. More than 1,000 people fill the Detroit Film Theatre inside the Detroit Institute of Arts to cheer these entrepreneurs and hear their stories of growth.


“It’s the best thing when you see this community come alive. It’s like these companies’ graduation – there are hundreds of people there to congratulate them, invest in them and create new connections,” Serbinski said.


At Detroit Moves, the October 10-11 event in Spirit Plaza seeks to showcase the people who are making things happen in the city and around Michigan, Stevens said. This outdoor festival celebrates how transportation solutions are coming to life in the region and enjoy some art, food and music at the same time, he said.


Now in its second year, Detroit Moves is a “mobility party,” Stevens said, allowing participants to interact with mobility companies, meet changemakers, try some autonomous vehicles and even see the future of transportation with what has been described as a flying car.


“We put the world on wheels so it makes sense that we are now changing the way people, goods and services are moving around the world,” Stevens said. “This is how we activate a city to show how transportation solutions are coming to life in our region.”




Mobility Week Detroit Schedule of Events


The Eye, The Brain & The Auto

Oct. 7-9

MotorCity Casino

Presented by Henry Ford Health System


The 8th World Research Congress on Vision and Driving is focusing on the autonomous vehicle technology and its impact on health care. The three-day world congress will look at the way mobility technology is disrupting the way IT, big-data management and health care does business. Sessions will touch on how vision and cognition will play a key role in connected and autonomous vehicles, their development and how users interact with them. It also will highlight how the medical field can contribute and benefit from the development of driverless cars, trusts and other forms of transportation.


Discussions will center on how accidents may be prevented, and health care can positively affect autonomous drivers, their passengers and pedestrians as the technology progresses. Issues including the role mobility plays in administrating healthcare, the impact on people with disabilities as well as how to strengthen and grow the relationship between the healthcare and automotive industries.


TechStars Demo Day

Oct. 9

Detroit Film Theater

Presented by Techstars Mobility Accelerator


The 2018 Class of startups enrolled in the Techstars Mobility Accelerator will be center stage as they graduate from this unique mentoring program. More than a thousand investors, community members, students and representatives from the automotive and transportation industries will be in the audience to hear about new technology, autonomous advances and mobility answers from the Techstars participants. The event is the largest single-day startup and innovation event nationwide, organizers say, giving these up-and-coming entrepreneurs a venue to share their ideas and network with industry executives in real and substantial ways. Techstars with its worldwide network that focusing on helping entrepreneurs succeed offers its mobility program solely in Detroit. Its current class of 11 companies is the most diverse to date, has businesses that span a wide array of mobility solutions and comes from countries across the globe, including Hong Kong and London.


Detroit Moves

Oct. 10-11

Spirit Plaza

Presented by Quicken Loans Community Fund


This free and family-friendly two-day outdoor festival brings people together with mobility companies, industry leaders and the latest in technology at Detroit’s Spirit Plaza. Now in its second year, Detroit Moves is a showcase for connected and autonomous vehicles as well as the people who make these high-tech machines, organizers say. The festival also includes art exhibits, musical performances, food and family-orientated activities such as a mobility-themed scavenger hunt. Additional activities include an educational village featuring STEM careers and area universities such as Wayne State and the Center for Creative Studies, a startup village with mobility-related startup companies and a social hour featuring food, beverage and entertainment from 5-7 p.m. on Oct. 11. Some exhibitors included May Mobility, which has an autonomous transport that takes Bedrock Detroit employees around the downtown core, as well as MoGo, Maven, Chariot, Airspace and America’s Automotive Trust.


MICHauto Summit: Explore Your Automobility Future

Oct. 10

The Beacon

Presented by MICHauto and the Detroit Regional Chamber


This one-day summit tells the story of Michigan’s automobility future with keynote speakers from Toyota, Ford Motor Company and Inteva Products as well as, conversations with mobility leaders. The day centers on conversations about how the state’s automotive industry is leading the way in terms of global innovation. Industry leaders will tackle big-picture issues in TEDx-style sessions on topics ranging from how the military is adapting to connected and autonomous vehicles to how startups are key to the mobility industry’s future to the career paths available in the automobility industry around Michigan. MICHauto executives also will update participants on automotive and mobility initiatives around the region and through the Detroit Regional Chamber. The event also has opportunities for networking throughout the event, a Detroit Moves festival tour and reception at the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Signup for Email Alerts