Seun Phillips: A Sense of Energy


So, I’ve been asked: What are you looking forward to at this year’s ITS America Annual Meeting?

First, the mobility demos. If you want to look at what some of the leading-edge companies are creating, this is the place. Seeing the creativity and talking to some of the innovators renews my enthusiasm and confidence in the future of mobility as a truly revolutionary moment in the history of transportation.

There is a palpable and growing excitement about the future of Detroit, and Michigan’s leading role as a hub for innovation, testing and validation for mobility technologies. At the heart of the excitement is the commitment by all those engaged in inventing the transportation future – major automotive manufacturers, entrepreneurs and the public sector.

At PlanetM, we’re actively engaged in serving as a business accelerator for startups and other businesses developing products and services in the automotive mobility space. We’re also facilitating pilots between corporates, startups and Michigan Department of Transportation; creating an epicenter of mobility for startups, OEMS and suppliers to coexist (27 total companies as of March); and, establishing well over 1000 meaningful connections.

Not to be overlooked is Gov. Snyder’s leadership role in pushing for the establishment of the American Center for Mobility (in Willow Run near Detroit Metro Airport), and creating laws for the testing of autonomous vehicle on public roadways.

For anyone who has been to Detroit, there’s one unmistakable impression – a sense of energy. And people. Many are rediscovering the city and spirit that made Detroit the home not only the auto industry, but an inspiration for the arts, and some of the best music – R&B, rock, jazz and blues.

Of course, it’s not quite Chicago blues. I’m a Michigan transplant. Grew up in metro Chicago, and then went to college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where I studied engineering. But make no mistake about it: there are many developments around Detroit that have the makings of a major international city on the rise.

You can see for yourself the many reasons for the enthusiasm. Take a ride on the city’s transit rail QLine, and you’ll see new hotels, the expansive Little Caesar’s Arena in the city’s newest neighborhood, The District, and a long list of commercial and residential developments. The city is calling people back.

During your visit to Detroit, you can see for yourself. Here are a few places to keep mind:

Seun Phillips is a Director at PlanetM.