Kicking off this year’s expanded Ann Arbor Mobility Summit was a panel discussing the “Changing Face of Automotive in the New Normal” with Senior Product and Strategic Planning Manager at Waymo Cristi Landy, Bill Frykman who works on connected vehicles at Ford and leads City Solutions Team, and Kara Grasso who works on solutions for mobility, autonomy and electrification for Denso. Moderating was Carla Bailo, president of the Center for Automotive Research, which provides independent research on the automotive industry.
Automation. It’s an unavoidable job stealer, right? Well, maybe sometimes, but when it comes to automation in smaller factory lines, something big is changing. It’s the type of robots, and how they work with people instead of replacing them. Universal Robots is a 12-year-old company founded in Odense, Denmark, with offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Universal Robots has a totally different vision for robotics than most manufacturers. “These robots are approachable, accessible, and should be able to work side by side with skilled humans instead of replacing them,” says Universal Robots Senior Manager of Strategic Marketing & Applications Development Joe Campbell. Moreover, they can be programmed in a matter of minutes with training in a few hours, not requiring a degree in robotics to program or operate.
Passenger cars and trucks have become rolling software updates, and while that has sped up product development cycles, it has created a big problem. A lot of the automotive industry has been updating software post vehicle sale through dealership recalls. As you can imagine, with dozens of systems using different software in a single car, that could become an issue. Enter remote software updates, an increasingly common strategy for mobility tech to integrate continuously improving software into vehicles that have already been set on the road.
Ann Arbor startup and TechDisrupt 2019 AI top pick Voxel51 just announced that it has just launched a new tool called FiftyOne, the computer vision industry’s first open-source tool for experimenting with and cleaning image and video data for machine learning. Engineers working with machine learning for image and video data sets have a new way of inspecting their data for labeling errors and finding explanations for functional problems emerging from the data. It’s a quicker solution to the problem of cleaning datasets, which grows by the year along with the size of datasets available for machine learning applications.
Censys Raises $15.5 Million, Hiring To Double Staff, As Cybersecurity Startup Announces New Features
In light of the recent Meow attacks that delete vulnerable databases on the internet, we were curious when Ann Arbor-based tech startup Censys announced $15.5 million in new funding and yet another phase in their mission to make vulnerable online data visible to companies so they can resolve it.
TusStar is an affiliated network of tech startup incubators and early stage venture accelerators located in over 130 cities around the world. It is led by professors at Tsinghua University in China, a major research university in Beijing, and there is a TusStar Incubator in emerging tech hub Ann Arbor, where a number of academic faculty at the University of Michigan start new companies to make use of inventions found during their research careers. Frank Ni is the head of TusStar Ann Arbor, founded as the premier TusStar location in the U.S. in late 2017 on the north side of Ann Arbor which is famous for its engineering, science research, robotics and autonomous vehicle research campuses. “Innovation can go beyond borders,” Ni tells Cronicle of the philosophy of starting an international incubator in Southeast Michigan.
As summer camps went virtual across the U.S., we had a sneaky little thought. Who is to know if your kid is doing the remote summer camp… or you are? Some activities are fun for all ages. If you’re looking for summer activities at home for your kid, or… yourself, look no further than our own back yard. Ann Arbor in Southeast Michigan is home to dozens of world-class summer camp programs, and now you can access them from anywhere.
What is happening with the newest cohort of tech and life science startups spun out of intellectual property invented at the University of Michigan? We’ve heard in recent times that the university has poured resources into programs for students interested in turning inventions and software into startups rather than taking a traditional job after graduation, but it seems spotty which majors and areas of the university are involved beyond computer science. We recently were introduced to several new startups navigating the entrepreneurial process straight out of college, and wanted to bring you the story of one small company and how it navigated through the maze of startup development from within the academic environment. It’s just one path to entrepreneurship in a growing tech and startup scene in Michigan, but one that is often hidden behind closed doors.
Manufacturers across the Midwest are rushing at historic speeds to create protective gear, ventilator components, and other hospital gear for front-line healthcare workers saving lives in the coronavirus outbreak, which in Michigan is now increasing in confirmed cases by up to 1,500 cases per day. Susan Carlock is a former ER nurse, so when her stamping and component manufacturing company Mursix Corporation in Yorktown, Indiana, heard about the urgent need for PPE, ventilators, and other medical supplies at Michigan hospitals, she sprang into action. Carlock is now VP of Business Development at Mursix, and like many others around the Great Lakes manufacturing belt, she knows the importance of moving quickly to retool a production line normally used to produce parts for the automotive industry to creating face shields, ventilator parts, and hospital bed components. It can’t happen overnight, especially at a time when smaller manufacturers are fighting against urgent conditions and a shortage of materials being scooped up by larger companies. Mursix began speaking with Beaumont Health System in Detroit, and soon they had arrangements to create components for a number of hospital supplies so desperately needed in the fight against COVID-19.
Sure, there are braille tablets these days that are pretty amazing. They translate several words or lines of text from websites into raised braille dots on a physical surface that scrolls through the web, opening up the world to those who can’t view the content of computers and the internet through traditional screens. But there are challenges. According to Alex Russomanno of new Ann Arbor startup NewHaptics, current braille tablets are limited to small quantities of text at a time, they’re incredibly expensive to manufacture, and they don’t have any way to translate images or graphs. This leaves the blind locked out of visual content, maps and graphs on computers.