Three mobility programs with a reach into West Michigan received $230,000 in state grant funding intended to address public health concerns brought on by the coronavirus.
Grant recipients under the state’s PlanetM initiative include Grand Haven-based GHSP ($80,000), Palo Alto, Calif.-based Gatik ($100,000) and New Hudson-based Pratt & Miller Engineering and Fabrication Inc. ($50,000).
GHSP, a division of Grand Haven-based JSJ Corp., will integrate its grēnlite product, which uses ultraviolet light to disinfect the air and high-touch surfaces, as part of the Grand Rapids Autonomous Vehicle Initiative. As part of the pilot program, May Mobility will install grēnlite on the autonomous shuttle fleet that runs through downtown Grand Rapids.
According to a statement, the company aims to use the pilot program as a launching pad to deploy the disinfection technology in EMS and police vehicles via partnerships with Life EMS and SoundOff Signal.
“With the challenges our world is currently facing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re very pleased that we’re able to bring this technology to the market at this time,” said Tom Rizzi, CEO of GHSP. “Helping improve the safety of the emergency service and public safety providers that expose themselves every day to help others was a big driver in getting this product developed and this technology will also create new engineering and manufacturing jobs in our Michigan economy.”
The grēnlite products use technology licensed from Grand Haven-based UV Partners Inc., which developed disinfecting technology for health care settings, as MiBiz previously reported.
Pratt Miller will deploy its Large area autonomous Disinfecting robotic vehicle (LaaD) at Gerald R. Ford International Airport to help curb the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. The electric and autonomous robot will dispense FDA-approved disinfecting materials with an electrostatic sprayer, which puts the disinfectant in the air so it can adhere to surfaces.
The program is intended to help “rebuild Michiganders’ confidence in the transportation and travel industries,” stated Simon Dean, vice president of mobility and innovation at Pratt Miller.
“This new technology has the potential to enhance our already-robust sanitation efforts, enabling us to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness in high-traffic areas,” Ford Airport CEO Tory Richardson said in a statement.
Meanwhile, autonomous delivery company Gatik is working with an unnamed Michigan retailer on automating its on-road transportation network. The pilot program aims to deploy autonomous delivery vehicles on fixed routes in Grand Rapids and Rochester for contactless delivery to “transform the way groceries, health products and other everyday goods are sustainably delivered,” according to a statement.
Gatik intends to create jobs in the state and buy a facility through the PlanetM grant, according to the state.
Other grant recipients include Penske Vehicle Services ($28,000) for temporary vehicle occupant safety partitions to increase physical separation between passengers and transit workers, and RCO Engineering ($28,000) to develop and pilot partitions for transporting Detroit residents.
The PlanetM mobility grants, which have awarded more than $2 million since 2018, are intended to spur mobility startups and existing companies to deploy technologies in Michigan. The pilot portion of the grant program shifted as a result of the pandemic to support projects that address challenges brought on by the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
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