TechLab at Mcity Unveils 2021 Startup Cohort
TechLab at Mcity is a Company-in-Residence program (company-sponsored technical projects housed at Mcity and the Ann Arbor campus) for early-stage advanced mobility companies in the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) industry through the work of elite and technically-skilled students.
Each year the Center for Entrepreneurship recruits a select group of early-stage (Seed-Series A funding) startups to participate in the program. The 2021 cohort will be the sixth for the program, which has recruited companies from all over the world and played a significant role in attracting promising tech companies to have a presence in Southeast Michigan. This past summer, the CFE was aided by Planet M, an advanced mobility initiative funded by the state of Michigan through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, in recruiting companies to the program.
“Attracting an exciting and diverse group of emerging startups from important advanced mobility ecosystems such as Silicon Valley, Israel, Seoul, and Europe has been central to the success of the TechLab at Mcity program, and Mcity and Planet M have been very helpful in providing resources and connections to further enrich the program for students,” said Nick Moroz, Assistant Director of Entrepreneurial Practice at the Center for Entrepreneurship, Director of the TechLab programs.
Each company in the 2021 cohort will participate in the year-long program with a student team of four focused on the development, demonstration, and deployment of key autonomous vehicle technologies.
ADASTEC (San Francisco, USA and Istanbul, Turkey) – ADASTEC delivers the most advanced Level 4 automation platform for full-size buses and coaches, designed for large scale public transport along predefined routes on public roads. This project is working on the transit platforms that will deliver the future of widely available, autonomous, public transportation in the US. According to the American Public Transport Association, “Every segment of American society—-individuals, families, communities, and businesses—benefits from public transportation. It is a lifeline for millions of Americans connecting them to people, places and possibilities”. The goal of the Adastec student team will be to create a sensor fusion architecture for enhanced perception in adverse weather conditions, and will incorporate multiple sensors that are currently in service on buses powered by the ADASTEC autonomous platform together with new sensors designed to improve safety and the overall capabilities of the autonomous bus in all environments.
Deepen AI (Santa Clara, USA) – Deepen AI provides tools and services for data curation, labeling, and validation. Deepen’s software suite leverages artificial intelligence to help autonomous systems reliably understand the world down to the pixel or point level, and safely interact with it. This cohort’s project will have students working to bridge the gap between real world vehicles’ sensor data and simulated scenarios. This work will contribute to Safety Pool, the global incentive-based brokerage of shared driving scenarios and safety data supported by the World Economic Forum.
DeepMap (Palo Alto, USA, Beijing and Guangzhou, China) – Founded by veterans of Google Maps and Apple Maps, DeepMap is the leading company building HD mapping capabilities for autonomous vehicles, developing maps within centimeter-level accuracy. The student team will lead the creation of HD maps of Mcity, Ann Arbor, and potentially other areas of Michigan. Tasks will include data collection, data processing, and localization and change detection.
Point One Navigation (San Francisco, USA) – Point One Navigation provides Precise Location as a Service, specifically tailored for autonomous systems including self driving vehicles, commercial drones and other robotic applications where robust and high integrity localization is required. This semester the student team will focus on development of a map database that can be queried in real-time by AVs in the field, particularly fleet services. These maps will include 3D features and will also be updated by vehicles on the road.
Seoul Robotics (Seoul, South Korea and Ann Arbor, USA) – Seoul Robotics builds advanced Lidar perception software powered by deep learning for CAV’s and smart infrastructure. Students will lead the development of an automated parking system utilizing Seoul Robotics core software and Lidar at Mcity and partnering with a parking infrastructure OEM.
TechLab at Mcity is currently recruiting U-M undergraduate and masters students with skill sets applicable to each project, including image processing, artificial intelligence, electronics and robotics, mechanical and systems engineering, and data processing. The projects will kick off in January of 2021. If you’d like to get involved or would like to learn more about the TechLab at Mcity program, please visit cfe.umich.edu/techlab-mcity.