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Emerging Sectors : Development News

172 Emerging Sectors Articles | Page: | Show All

Royal Oak-based Vectorform and Microsoft Partner to expand HoloLens technology for automotive design

Excerpt: 

Royal Oak’s Vectorform, a digital product and experiences company with capabilities in mixed reality design and engineering, announced a collaboration with Microsoft Corp. to innovate vehicle design and the prototyping processes for the automotive industry.

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Metro Detroit cities prepare for autonomous vehicles with smart infrastructure

Last spring, Terry Croad started attending quarterly meetings of the Michigan Connected and Automated Vehicle Working Group. As Southfield’s director of planning, he hoped to stay abreast of the latest technology advancements as well as regulatory, financial, security, and other issues tied to the rapidly advancing ecosystem of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Often, he’d be the only planner in a room full of engineers, computer programmers, transportation experts, economic development leaders, and security and defense officials.

Southfield is getting a head start on the inevitable infrastructure changes mobility will require. “We’re already starting to tweak a little bit our land-use pattern and our regulation, and I think as this becomes more and more integrated into our daily lives, it’s going to have a significant impact on the way we park and use cars,” Croad says.

All Metro Detroit cities could look a lot different in the not-so-distant future thanks to the advent of autonomous vehicles and innovative mobility services.

Features we now take for granted, like 10- to 12-foot-wide driving lanes and expansive parking lots, could be rendered unnecessary in areas where people use connected, driverless cars, or ride-sharing platforms to get from point A to point B.

That’s why it’s crucial for local government officials to stay on top of the latest developments in connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology and adjust their infrastructure and land-use plans accordingly, says Croad.

Experts estimate that autonomous vehicles will be commonplace within 15 to 20 years. “As a [planning] profession, we need to be embracing this earlier than later ... The earlier we start talking about it and getting our elected officials at least aware that this is coming, better off we’re all going to be,” he says.

Southfield even included a section on “innovative transportation opportunities” in the master plan it updated in 2016. It stressed the need to be proactive to understand the impacts of such advancements so it could better plan and invest for the future.

That kind of awareness is one of the biggest things communities can do to prepare for CAVs, says Valerie Sathe Brugeman, senior project manager at the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research. Brugeman recently co-authored a “Future Cities” report commissioned by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) on the potential benefits and challenges of CAV technology to communities.

At this point she hasn’t seen Michigan communities drastically change their roads, intersections or pedestrian walkways, but she said big changes could be needed as more people use autonomous or shared vehicles.

Intelligent use of space

Since CAVs should be able to stay in their lanes better than vehicles with drivers, roads of the future could have narrower lanes, allowing more space for pedestrian paths, drop-off lanes or other uses. There’s a possibility these technologies could result in fewer vehicles on the road, meaning fewer lanes would be needed. Or it could have the opposite effect, and result in increased vehicle miles traveled with more people opting to commute further to work or using autonomous cars that drive around with no occupants after drop-offs, Brugeman says.

Parking needs also are expected to change. A driverless car could drop passengers off at their destination and then either park itself off-site, or continue driving to pick up different passengers. That would reduce the need for parking spots in prime locations as well as shrink individual parking space sizes. Autonomous vehicles can park closer together if there are no passengers who need to open doors.

As cities build new parking structures, they should consider making them retrofittable so they could be transformed for office space or recreational use as parking needs decrease, says Brugeman. Communities also could change zoning regulations to dictate the maximum number of parking spots instead of minimum number of spots for particular developments.
Southfield recently conducted an overhaul of its parking standards to take these trends into consideration. Croad wants to reduce the parking ratios required for certain land uses and shrink the space between aisles.

Future planning for Michigan cities

While Southfield is considered ahead of the pack in acknowledging the potential impacts of CAVs and other mobility advancements, it’s not the only Metro Detroit community taking action. Last year the City of Detroit created the Office of Mobility Innovation and named Mark de la Vergne its chief.

“The fact that they now have a chief of mobility innovation is telling of the value they place on the topic and the technologies surrounding it,” Brugeman says.

Detroit recently won a nearly $2.2 million federal grant to deploy vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication and detection technologies at intersections in high-traffic areas in Southwest Detroit, the Riverfront, Corktown, and the Livernois-McNichols corridor. De la Vergne says the connected corridors should improve traffic safety and reduce emergency response times.

The grant will be a jumping off point to understand how and if the city could scale the technology, and what kind of infrastructure it would require.

“Knowing technology is changing a lot, I think that’s the challenge we all face, but at the same time, we want to be able to start getting some of this stuff in the ground so that we can start learning,” de la Vergne says.

Michigan is a national leader when it comes to developing, testing and promoting CAV technology. There are at least 115 dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) roadside units installed throughout the state for vehicle and infrastructure connectivity, according to the Future Cities report. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is partnering with local and state entities to work on several CAV projects, such as allowing transit signal priority to SMART buses in Macomb County with the goal of improving efficiency and reliability.

“We have all these physical assets here that really make this area unique to other parts of the country,” Brugeman says, noting that one of Michigan’s biggest advantages is the collaboration between MDOT and the MEDC in concert with the auto industry, universities and other entities.

“They recognize the need to remain a leader, because there are a lot of other communities that are vying for a leadership position in this race for CAVs,” she says.
 

Indiana-based AM General opens Technology and Engineering Center in Auburn Hills

Excerpt

South Bend, Indiana-based global mobility solutions provider AM General announced it has moved into a new Technology and Engineering Center in Auburn Hills. The facility houses engineering, product planning, and prototyping departments along with business development, U.S. defense, and strategic marketing functions.

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Continental in Auburn Hills develops control element for automated driving

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As autonomous and connected vehicles move closer to commercialization, Auburn Hills-based global automotive supplier Continental announced The Smart Control, an input device that is transparently and intuitively designed to aid the driver’s transition from operator to user of automated driving functions.

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Medical Main Street to debut expanded supply chain directory

Medical Main Street has doubled the size of its medical device directory to help global manufacturers find suppliers in Oakland County and Michigan.

The 50-page Michigan Medical Device Manufacturers Directory will be distributed to attendees at the Medical Main Street annual meeting and networking event Nov. 3 at Oakland Community College’s Highland Lake Campus student center.

“We make things here: cars, products for the defense industry and a range of consumer products,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “The infrastructure to support that manufacturing and the supply chain is all here. If you’re in the medical device industry, you need to be here designing and making those products. We can help you do that.”

The free directory will also be made available Nov. 3 online at MedicalMainStreet.com. It includes an alphabetical listing of 136 companies, with websites for each company. Sixty of the companies have locations in Oakland County. County staff can connect interested people directly to those companies. It has easy-to-read charts that identify companies by manufacturing processes such as injection molding, machining, engineering or precision cutting. It follows the inaugural directory that was created seven years ago. It was compiled with research done by the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center and is the only directory of its kind in the state, said Irene Spanos, the county’s director of economic development.

The event will be held at OCC’s Highland Lakes Campus is at 7350 Cooley Lake Road in Waterford and runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon. There is no charge to attend but registration is required at MedicalMainStreet.com. A panel will discuss “Insights into the Health Care/Life Science Ecosystem.”

Medical Main Street is an alliance of world-class hospitals and health systems, universities, medical device, biopharma companies and some of the country’s leading medical professionals creating a global center of innovation in health care, research and development, education and commercialization in the life science industry.

Thousands of jobs, billions of investment headed for Pontiac, developers say

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Pontiac's leaders say the city is on the verge of making major strides toward a comeback as a major economic hub in Metro Detroit.

The city's resurgence, however, won't be based on an over reliance on auto manufacturing this time, and instead supported by a series of developments and corporate moves diversifying its economy.

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Bluewater in Southfield expands to provide exhibition development

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Southfield-based technology experience company Bluewater has announced the formation of Bluewater Studio, the company’s new environments and exhibition arm. Bluewater Studio will provide clients with an integrated approach to their strategy, creative, development, and production of creative cultural experiences and spaces.

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Michigan ranked second for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness

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An Aerospace Manufacturing Attractiveness Index compiled by global professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) ranked Michigan second nationwide behind Georgia based on a weighted score of category and subcategory rankings including labor, infrastructure, industry, economy, cost, tax policy, and geopolitical risk. Rising six rankings after falling to eighth place last year, Michigan’s improvement was attributed to the state’s strong performance in the economy, infrastructure, and cost categories.

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Stefanini announces office relocation in Southfield and opens its first innovation center in U.S.

Stefanini, a $1B global IT provider, moved its corporate office in Southfield to a new address: an open-space concept which is more aligned with Stefanini’s values.  The new office reflectsStefanini’s collaborative process and promotes open communication among different departments. In addition to being the headquarters for Stefanini North America and Asia-Pacific, the new Southfield office also boasts the first Innovation Center in the U.S. 

According to Spencer Gracias, CEO of Stefanini North America and Asia-Pacific, the inspiration for the new office was based on making innovation a priority. The company designed an open-space concept with furniture, lights and colors specifically chosen to stimulate creativity, communication and the exchange of new ideasthrough design thinking methodology. “We believe that investing in a more creative and innovative atmosphere is crucial to the environment,” said Mr. Gracias.

First Innovation Center in the U.S.
The innovative culture will be reinforced within the Global Innovation Center, which is located in the same facility. The Global Innovation Centers are part of a worldwide Stefanini initiative that has enabled the company the ability to embrace emerging technologies and industry standards using design thinking methodology. “Through the Innovation Centers, located inBrazil, Romania, Singapore and, now, in the United States, Stefanini is aiming to create value for its customers that earns their lifetime loyalty,” said Mr. Gracias.

In addition to benefiting employees, the new office will reinforce innovation within the community and embrace the company’s partners. “As a result, Stefanini is positioned strongly as a company that views innovation as a priority, enjoying all the benefits of new trends and providing solutions aligned with the specific business needs of its clients,” affirmed Mr. Gracias.
 
The new Stefanini Southfield office address is:
27100 West Eleven Mile Road
Southfield, MI 48034
All of Stefanini’s phone numbers and fax numbers will remain the same. 
_______________________________________________________________________
About Stefanini North America
For nearly two decades in the United States, Stefanini has been helping midsize, large and global enterprises increase the efficiency of their IT operations while also leveraging information technology to power their businesses. Our offers include efficient, cost-reducing and effective services (IT infrastructure outsourcing, end-user computing outsourcing, application management services and mainframe modernization). In addition, we offer business-empowering services (mobility, analytics, big data consulting, SAP consulting, SharePoint, portals and collaboration services).  

About Stefanini 
Created in 1987, Stefanini is a $1B global IT provider of business solutions with locations in 39 countries across the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia. With more than 22,000 employees, Stefanini provides onshore, offshore and nearshore IT services, including application development services, IT infrastructure outsourcing (help desk support and desktop services), systems integration, consulting and strategic staffing to Fortune 1000 enterprises around the world. The corporate global headquarters is located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with the European headquarters in Brussels and the North American headquarters in metropolitan Detroit.

Further information is available on the company’s website, www.stefanini.com.

BLM Group USA opens headquarters and tech center in Novi

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BLM Group USA, a global manufacturer of tube and sheet metal processing equipment, today announced the opening of its new headquarters in Novi. The 75,000-square-foot facility features a 35,000-square-foot showroom and provides greater access for customers to explore BLM’s products, services, and technologies.

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Autoneum opens new North American headquarters and technical center in Novi

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Novi-based acoustical consultant Autoneum today announced the opening of its new North American headquarters in Novi. The new Autoneum facility brings together research and development activities in the North American market with the management of the region’s business group.

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MadDog Technology transforming Pontiac into a hub for software development

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Tech248 Director Greg Doyle interviews Mark Hillman, co-founder of MadDog Technology, one of the members of a group that represents 1000 companies. MadDog is in the historic Riker Building in downtown Pontiac, creating a world-class tech space, Hillman said. MadDog incubates and invests in software companies, some eight and counting. Former Compuware co-founder Peter Karmanos is Hillman’s partner – in case you wondered where he went after he left Compuware. MadDog also has raised a venture capital fund.

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Michigan Capital Advisors invests in Light Guide Systems augmented reality technology

Michigan Capital Advisors (MCA), a private equity firm focused on the automotive and transportation-related industries, announced it has invested in OPS Solutions, maker of the augmented reality technology Light Guide Systems that is transforming manual assembly and manufacturing processes for companies worldwide. Charles “Chip” McClure, Managing Partner of MCA, has joined the OPS Solutions Board of Managers in conjunction with this investment.

MCA’s growth equity investment will add new horsepower to the rapidly growing company, which enjoyed a 100 percent revenue increase in 2016 and expanded into a custom-built 10,000 square foot facility in Wixom.

“The entire team at OPS Solutions is excited for MCA’s support and thrilled to work with Chip and his team to bring our innovative technology and job creation tools to new markets,” said Paul Ryznar, founder, President and CEO of OPS Solutions. “MCA’s industry expertise and relationships open the door to new worldwide opportunities and expand our sales reach as we transform manufacturing processes and drive the manufacturing industry forward with smart technology.”

“Light Guide Systems is at the forefront of using augmented reality to drive meaningful productivity gains in manufacturing, and we see multiple applications for this technology in the automotive, transportation, medical device and other industries,” said McClure. “I have known Paul for over 20 years, and we are tremendously excited to be partnering with him and his team to support OPS Solutions’ growth trajectory.”

Light Guide Systems helps reduce errors and radically improve manufacturing and other manual processes by projecting a digital operating “canvas” directly onto virtually any work surface and providing audio and visual prompts, guidance, pacing and direction. Light Guide Systems Pro takes the tool to the next level by incorporating its proprietary software into the powerful yet compact Sprout Pro by HP PC platform to deliver a package that is portable, flexible and affordable.

Light Guide Systems is currently available worldwide. Visit www.lightguidesys.com for more information.

About Light Guide Systems

Wixom, Michigan-based Light Guide Systems, Light Guide Medical and OPS Solutions have created patented products, Light Guide Systems Pro™ and Light Guide Systems Classic™, which use proprietary software and industrial projector systems to guide and confirm completion of complex tasks. From assembly to quality control to training, Light Guide System’s technology provides the visualization, traceability and flexibility demanded by leading companies worldwide. Key industries include aerospace, agriculture, automotive, energy, heavy equipment and medical. Learn more at www.lightguidesys.com.

About Michigan Capital Advisors

Michigan Capital Advisors is a private equity firm focused on the middle-market Tier II and III suppliers in the automotive, heavy truck and transportation related industries.  These Tier II and III suppliers have been chronically underserved by the investment community for a variety of reasons, including market cyclicality and operational complexity.  By leveraging industry relationships, operating expertise and access to capital, Michigan Capital Advisors sees a tremendous opportunity to invest in this demanding, yet dynamic industry. Learn more at www.michigancapitaladvisors.com.

Futuris Group acquires Kongsberg Automotive's North American headrest business

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Oak Park-based auto body supplier Futuris Group today announced it has completed the acquisition of Kongsberg Automotive’s North American headrest and armrest business, expanding their presence in Italy and the European market.

Futuris is a leading automotive tier 1 global JIT seating and interiors supplier with complete design, development, and production capabilities. The company has operations in the United States, Mexico, China, Thailand, and Australia, and overall it operates more than 25 facilities and employs 5,600 associates worldwide.

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Downtown Pontiac's Riker Building celebrates first major tenant: MadDog Technology

The redevelopment team of the historic Riker Building in downtown Pontiac is taking a top-down approach. The ten-story building, opened in 1928, welcomed prominent Michigan public officials and business leaders this past Wednesday, March 22 for a luncheon and open house celebrating the building's first major tenant, MadDog Technology.

From the top floor of the Riker, a group that included the building's developer Tim Shepard, MadDog Technology co-founders Pete Karmanos, Jr. and Mark Hillman, Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman, and Michigan Lt. Governor Brian Calley, among many others, gathered for the grand opening of MadDog Technology.

The venture capital firm MadDog has moved four technology startups into the 6,000 sq. ft. space on the building's tenth floor. Redevelopment of the building is happening one floor at a time, from the tenth floor on down to the first.

The overall theme of the celebration was one of rejuvenation, not just of the prominent downtown office tower but of the city as a whole. Speakers forecasted a pending technology boom for the city, encouraging the audience to invest in Pontiac.

Mark Adams, Senior Business Development Representative for Oakland County's Economic Development & Community Affairs department says that Michigan nearly lost MadDog to another state, but work at the city and state levels, including a state grant, helped convince MadDog to stay in Michigan.

Adams says he expects 100 IT workers to be hired over the next few years, and that MadDog's move to the Riker, "will be a catalyst for more businesses coming to the city of Pontiac."

Mayor Waterman believes MadDog will help establish Pontiac as a technology hub, saying that the city has the largest unused fiber optic network east of the Mississippi River.

"We want to change the narrative of what Pontiac is," says the mayor. "We're at the center of Oakland County."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
172 Emerging Sectors Articles | Page: | Show All
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