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103 Transportation Articles | Page: | Show All

Auto supplier BorgWarner in Auburn Hills partners with Silicon Valley's Plug and Play accelerator

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BorgWarner, a large automotive supplier in Auburn Hills, announced it is increasing its exposure to emerging technologies and innovation in the mobility sector by partnering with Plug and Play, an accelerator ecosystem for startup companies, and Franklin Venture Partners, a specialized investment team within Franklin Templeton Investments.

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Oakland County-based aircraft provider celebrates groundbreaking for new headquarters

After taking to the skies for the past 35 years, fractional aircraft provider Corporate Eagle is celebrating a major development on the ground. The company ceremonially broke ground on its new headquarters, having been selected by Oakland County International Airport to lease 5.7 acres of land for the development.

Corporate Eagle was selected following an in-depth RFP process by the Waterford-based airport. The new headquarters will be located at the corner of M59 Highland Road and Patterson Parkway.

Its 5.7 acres will include:

  • 56,000 sq. ft. of hangar space
  • More than 9,000 sq. ft. of business and member VIP facilities
  • More than 8,000 sq. ft. of support facilities
  • 40,000 gallons of jet fuel storage
  • 85,000 sq. ft. of high-load capacity concrete tarmac


Corporate Eagle, a provider of fractional and managed business aviation programs, has 70 full-time employees and a fleet of 14 aircraft. The company was founded in 1982.

According to Corporate Eagle President and CEO Rick Nini, the company has been enjoying a years-long period of extended growth. The new headquarters will accommodate even more anticipated growth.

"We are thrilled to be well on our way with the construction of the new Corporate Eagle headquarters facility," Nini said in a release. "The number one goal of this new headquarters was to enhance the experience for our members significantly, and I assure you, we have accomplished this goal.

"Also, we have added room for larger and more aircraft and greatly improved the site and floor plans for a more convenient and safer flow of our company operations."

The company is currently located in a 58,000 sq. ft. facility less than a quarter mile from its new headquarters.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


After decades of attempts, bicycle and pedestrian trailway opens in Troy

He laughs when he says it, but Kurt Bovensiep can only laugh because it’s true. The city of Troy has been working on developing a bicycle and pedestrian trail system since 1974.

One obstacle after another, from property owner disputes to the Great Recession of 2008, has stymied efforts to develop a trail over the years. But in 2018, the city of Troy can finally say it has the beginnings of its own trails network.

While the grand opening celebration for Troy Trails & Pathways isn’t until Wednesday, Aug. 1, the trail itself is indeed already open. Enthusiasm for the trail was so high, says Bovensiep, that bikers and walkers were on the heels of construction workers as each section of asphalt was poured.

Today, riders can take the 1.3-mile asphalt trail from the Troy Town Center, through P. Terry & Barbara Knight Park, past Wattles Road (where a pedestrian safety island has been installed), and finish at Troy Historic Village. The trail largely takes users off city streets and sidewalks and into the woods.

"People are saying, I can’t believe I’m in the middle of suburban Troy yet feel like I’m in such a natural area," Bovensiep says.

This is just the beginning for Troy Trails & Pathways. While no specific plans have been announced, Bovensiep hopes to connect the trail to a larger network of trails, making it a viable alternative transportation route. The goal is to connect to the Clinton River Trail, either through Auburn Hills or Rochester Hills, which itself is planned to connect to the statewide Iron Belle Trail system.

The Troy city council has appropriated $750,000 for the trail for each of the next three years.

A grand opening celebration is planned for Troy Trails & Pathways for Wednesday, Aug. 1, with updates available online.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.


SEMCOG announces $14 million in funding for walking and biking projects and planning assistance

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SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, has awarded nearly $13 million in Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding and over $900,000 in Planning Assistance Program funding to local communities for a total of 50 projects.

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Autonomous commercial vehicle leader WABCO Selects Auburn Hills for headquarters

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We’re pleased to report that WABCO Holdings Inc., a leading global supplier of technologies that improve the safety, efficiency, and connectivity of commercial vehicles, announced that it will locate its new Americas headquarters in the City of Auburn Hills. The $19.7 million facility is currently under construction at 1220 Pacific Drive and is expected to open in October.

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Altran expands to Detroit, brings passive safety solutions to U.S.


This feature is courtesy of Driven, the story of how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.

Pedestrian passive safety is a concept that means little to the average American, yet it’s been part of vehicle safety development in Europe for nearly a decade.

Altran, the largest global, multi-industry engineering, research, and development powerhouse, with $3 billion in revenue and 45,000 employees in 20 countries--but relative newcomer to the Detroit region--has deep expertise in pedestrian passive safety. Altran’s skilled workforce has been testing pedestrian passive safety solutions, as well as airbags and vehicle interiors, in its World Class Passive Safety Center in Wixom since opening in November, 2107. The center joins others of its kind operated by Altran in Austria, Germany, Canada, and France.

Known as active bonnet or active hood, these passive safety systems work to decrease injury to pedestrians in the case of impact, and in some cases, the need for these systems can drive the design of the vehicle. Manufacturers that export vehicles to Europe know all about active bonnet systems, but it’s just a matter of time before domestic vehicle models will be required to incorporate this type of safety technology, says Sebastian Wipfler, manager of the Altran’s World Class Center in Wixom.

“If you are driving a car, you can work to prevent an accident, but if there is an accident, the car has to be developed to give the pedestrian the highest chance to survive,” says Wipfler. European regulations require testing to prove that vehicles will do minimal damage to pedestrians on impact.

Here in the U.S., there were 5,376 pedestrian fatalities in 2015, an increase from the previous year.

“The automotive industry is continually working to make cars safer, and one of the critical elements of making a car driverless is managing the safety,” says Mohan Raju, Altran head of automotive North America."We all work to prevent collision using active safety, or maneuvering the car using technology, and this is essentially the work going on in the autonomous vehicle space.”

Until driverless vehicles are mainstream in the market, passive safety measures that minimize or eliminate injury to pedestrians and passengers are an important part of future automotive safety regulations in the U.S.

“Europe is ahead of the U.S. in passive safety, particularly in pedestrian safety,” Raju says.

Expanding to the U.S.

While Altran could have located its center in several locations here in the U.S., the Detroit region’s dense population of vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, robust global automotive leadership, and automotive engineering talent made Michigan the most attractive and smartest choice.

Altran clients, including OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, were seeking a local presence of expertise, and Altran recognized the market opportunity. The scouting process began in 2016, when the head of the Altran World Class Center in Graz, Austria met informally with members of the Destination Detroit team of the Detroit Regional Chamber, and asked some smart questions.

Detroit’s automotive reputation solidified Altran’s decision quickly. While it may make sense for startups to consider the west coast, every automotive resource has a presence in the Detroit region.

“Where is the best place to be for automotive? You always end up in the Detroit area,” says Wipfler. “Even west coast companies, most of them now have offices here. The Tier 1s are here. Everyone needs to be present in the Detroit area. That’s what we saw.”

When Altran was ready to focus in and select a location for its testing facility, it returned to the connection it had made with the Destination Detroit team.

“From our conversations, we learned Detroit is where they wanted to be. For automotive engineering and R&D, this is the hub, and the customers they were looking for and the leadership in the auto industry are all here,” says Will Butler, business development representative with the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Butler and his team took a deep dive and learned that Altran needed a site on a moderate parcel of land that could accommodate a 500-foot straight track for testing, and be enclosed by fencing to maintain client confidentiality. They researched dozens of locations, and brought on board a real estate expert to find just the right building, in an appropriate location, that could accommodate customization on a tight schedule.

“It was a little bit like a puzzle, and certainly an interesting challenge,” says Butler. “As economic developers, we want projects to be easy and quick, and we worked hard to help Altran find just what they needed. Speed to market is the name of the game.”

Support on the ground

Assuming the quarterback role, the Destination Detroit team kept the project on track and moving forward by tapping into a deep network of experts, including county and city departments that responded quickly and worked to provide approval for the site’s specific needs.

Ultimately, Altran’s successful expansion into the Detroit region--and into the United States-- was a collaborative effort between Destination Detroit, Oakland County, and the city of Wixom. Destination Detroit’s long standing experience in the needs of advanced automotive industries helped Altran meet its goals for growth.

“The people at Destination Detroit were very helpful all along,” says Raju. “Once we chose our building, it needed special approvals from the city of Wixom to be built to our needs, and the Detroit Regional Chamber helped us coordinate with the city to get the approvals.”

Now In operation with about eight employees in Wixom, Altran plans to grow to a staff of 25 within a couple of years.

“Altran has a very large global presence, but we are relatively new to the North American market. For us to get entry into this region as a service provider to any of the OEMs or Tier1s, we have to be ahead of the game, and better at something that not many other providers can offer,” says Raju. “One of our entry strategies was to bring in the World Class Center for Passive Safety in Detroit, and expand into offering each OEM all the other services we can provide. We have some of the best facilities in Europe, and this is a footprint for us to expand our offerings to the North American market.”

With mobility as a key area of expertise, Altran is poised to provide a diverse portfolio of services to its clients from its World Class Center in Wixom.

“We are working to focus on a combination of local delivery with Austrian expertise and Indian engineering capability to provide cost effective, highly skilled solutions in the area of passive safety to clients in the Detroit area, and across the U.S. in general," Raju says.

“Our strategy is to enter with a high level of expertise, drive cost efficiency, and engage for the long term.”

Visit Driven and learn how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.
 

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.
 

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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Pentastar Aviation collaborates on co-ownership solution for business aircraft owners

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Waterford Township-based Pentastar Aviation and Partners in Aviation (PIA) announced they will offer a comprehensive management program with a cost-effective solution to owning and operating a business aircraft.

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Magna partners with MDOT, 3M to improve vehicle safety

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Troy-based automotive supplier Magna has announced a collaborative effort with the Michigan Department of Transportation and 3M to improve vehicle connectivity, driver safety, and security.

Over the next several years, Magna will provide its camera and secure connectivity technology to create the nation’s first vehicle-to-infrastructure connected work zone along a three-mile section of I-75 in Oakland County.

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Corporate Eagle selected for 5.7-acre airport land lease at the Oakland County International Airport

Corporate Eagle, a provider of premium, membership-based fractional and managed business aviation programs, based at Oakland County International airport, announced today that it has been selected as the finalist for a highly sought after 5.7-acre parcel of land at the Oakland County International Airport. Corporate Eagle President and CEO Rick Nini made the announcement.

Corporate Eagle competed against other organizations in an Oakland County RFP process that included an extensive description of the proposed development along with a formal presentation to secure this piece of property. This new site permits the company to construct a state-of-the-art building from the ground up, providing Corporate Eagle’s Southeast Michigan members with a very exclusive and efficient private aviation facility, and will allow the company to continue with its strategic growth plan adding hangar space to accommodate more and larger aircraft. Details relating to design and development timing will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Corporate Eagle has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years, highlighted most recently with the 2015 launch of our Falcon 2000 fractional program,” said Nini. “We posted a record year in 2016. During that time, we flew more than 2,000 trips with over 9,000 passengers—landing in 27 different countries. In the past five years, Corporate Eagle has doubled its member base and significantly increased our staff. This is a great opportunity for Corporate Eagle, our staff and our 41 members, and we’re excited to move forward with this great new facility.”

Corporate Eagle is Michigan's largest, longest-serving and fastest growing provider of fractional and managed business aviation. Currently operating from a 58,000 square-foot facility at Oakland International Airport, Corporate Eagle has grown to 57 employees including 32 captain-rated pilots and 14 modern aircraft including the Dassault Falcon 2000, Raytheon Hawker 800XP and Beechcraft Super King Air B200.  The company also manages several private aircraft for businesses, families and individuals.

About Corporate Eagle
Founded in 1982, Corporate Eagle is southeast Michigan's largest and longest serving provider of premium, membership-based fractional and managed business aviation programs. Based at Oakland County International Airport, Corporate Eagle's team of 57 full-time, experienced, committed and passionate professionals are dedicated to delivering exemplary experiences for the region's industry leading corporations and business leaders. With a mission specific fleet of 14 meticulously maintained aircraft, best in class industry safety standards and certifications and unmatched attention to every detail, without compromise, Corporate Eagle, offering the only Far 91 Subpart K fractional aviation program in Michigan, offers its southeast Michigan members a premier, seamless and flexible solution to their private aviation needs. For more information visit www.corporateeagle.com.

Michigan, 3M to install I-75 technology allowing roads and cars to 'communicate'

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The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently established a partnership with 3M for its I-75 project. The government agency will soon begin construction and installation of technology that will allow "communication" between the road and the cars.

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Bosch creates map for automated driving that utilizes radar signals

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Bosch, an engineering and electronics company which operates its North American headquarters in Farmington Hills, in collaboration with TomTom, a Dutch map and traffic information provider, today announced the first radar signaled localization layer for high-resolution maps used in automated driving.

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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.

Birmingham's Soaring Pine Capital acquires aerospace and DoD provider ETI Tech Inc.

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Birmingham-based Soaring Pine Capital, a Simon Group Holdings company, announced it has acquired ETI Tech Inc. in Dayton, Ohio.

Founded in 1996, ETI is a leading provider of more than 200 flight hardware parts for military aircraft and ground support equipment for the aerospace defense industry, including fixed and rotary wing aircrafts and unmanned aerial vehicles such as the F-35, C-130, F-16, and C-5B.

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103 Transportation Articles | Page: | Show All
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