The companies had been testing two Escapes outfitted with sensors and automated driving technology for valet parking applications at The Assembly garage in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. Now, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification have added the site to the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform that will allow grants for additional companies to test there.
A spokesperson said the state will invest $110,000 in the lab and will provide $200,000 in competitive grant funding to companies looking to test there.
"Michigan continues to lead the way in developing, testing and deploying the solutions that will drive the future of transportation, including mobility-related parking solutions," Whitmer said in a statement. "Innovative collaborations like the Detroit Smart Parking Lab are solving issues that will make transportation more accessible and affordable while creating an environment for technology and mobility-related companies to thrive and grow in Michigan."
Car rental company Enterprise is the first to receive a grant and will test how automated valet parking technology can apply between vehicle rentals, where cars are returned, cleaned, fueled/charged and staged for the next rental. Enterprise will use the two Ford Escapes outfitted with Ford Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technology and a set of Bosch intelligent parking sensors from the prior pilot program.
The lab is open to any business and can accommodate any vehicle brand or supplier technology. It will be run by the state's American Center for Mobility.
According to the state, previous testing site deployments have ranged from $10,000 to $100,0000 and real-world deployments have ranged from $40,000 to $125,000. Michigan has awarded $2.4 million that went to 26 real-world deployment grants between 2018 and 2020, according to its website.