The curtain has finally lifted on AutoMobili-D, the newest exhibit at the North American International Auto Show that’s focused on showcasing the latest mobility technology.
WXYZ-TV's coverage of AutoMobili-D is sponsored by Dataspeed Inc.
About 120 organizations, including 50 startups, now flood a hall adjacent to the atrium at Cobo Center. A celebration of Detroit’s commitment to the technology scene, AutoMobili-D features companies that represent several key mobility areas like autonomous driving and connected car technologies.
Here is a glimpse at some of the companies on display and a couple of details about what they are working on:
Based in: Detroit and Chicago
What they do: The service alerts drivers of approaching emergency vehicles, school buses, tow trucks, utility fleets and other fleets. HAAS is currently testing out a smart city pilot with Detroit. One of their mottos: smart cities = safe cities.
Automaker partner: Ford
What's it like to be part of the first AutoMobili-D? "Just being part of a more open-minded automotive industry, I think they are way more open to startups and new technologies like ours," said HAAS Alert Founder Cory Hohs. "They are ready."
Based in: Toronto
What they do: Platform predicts vehicle failure. The Pitstop on-board diagnostics device reads data from the car and transfers that real-time information to a mobile app that can keep motorists in the loop regarding the health of their car. The platform is used as a communication tool for dealerships. Using the data, dealerships can send timely updates and provide "transparency in the maintenance process." Motorists can also scan their car independently for issues.
Working with: 15 dealerships in Canada.
What's it like to be part of the first AutoMobili-D? "It's really exciting...to be part of this, we get a lot of exposure, recognition," said Pitstop Co-Founder Yashin Shah.
Based in: Washington, D.C. headquarters, with an office in San Francisco, California
What they do: Mapbox has essentially created a set of tools to help designers and data engineers integrate location services into any kind of application. Think web, mobile, embedded software. Jeremy Stratman, who works in business development for Mapbox, says it's all about helping companies enhance the user experience.
Working with: Subaru, Automatic, Maquest, The Weather Channel -- just to name a few.
What's it like to be part of the first AutoMobili-D? "The industry is no longer just vehicles," said Stratman. "We're here to show our piece of the puzzle."
My Dealer Service
Based in: Denver, Colorado
What they do: The company's goal is to streamline the automotive repair service.The platform allows for service centers to send motorists texts, photos and more relating to their vehicle while it's in the shop. People can also approve additional repairs and make payments all through the app. It essentially acts as a communication tool for dealerships.
Currently working with: 30 car dealerships, the company has also found that the product has applications in the heavy equipment sector.
What's it like to be part of the first AutoMobili-D? "Hoping it's a good experience, don't know what to expect yet," said My Dealer Service Co-Founder Daniel Logan. "Even if we get one new customer, it's pretty phenomenal."
Based in: Irvine, California
What they do: Involved in battery software development, have created what they call a "super battery" that powers the company's Immotor Go electric scooter. The battery is module, programmable and interchangeable-- allowing people to power multiple devices with it. The electric scooter has a 20 mile range and can reach speeds of 20 miles per hour. The gadget is portable and geared toward city dwellers with three modes: ride, power and fold. In the future, consumers will be able to tether the Immotor Go to their phones and have it follow them to their destination.
Cost: Immotor Go is available for preorder for $1,099.
What's it like to be part of the first AutoMobili-D? "It's cool, NAIAS is the grand-daddy of auto shows, it's kind of a neat experience. We're excited," said Immotor Director of Marketing Alex Nesic.
Based in: San Diego, California
What they do: The company takes used electric car batteries and recycles them into affordable lithium ion battery packs that can be recharged. The founder says that after the automotive life, these batteries still have 70 percent of their capacity. They are retooled and given more durable housing for use in developing countries. These batteries can be charged with solar panels and used to power lamps and phones for hours on a single charge. After the batteries have run their course in about five to six years, they are then returned to TotusPower and a replacement is sent.
Name meaning: Totus is the Latin root for total, "we are essentially plugging into one large circular chain," said TotusPower Founder Siva Rajendran.
What's it like to be part of the first AutoMobili-D? "I'm excited...I need auto companies. I spent my last $2,000 to get here," said Rajendran. "I'm very excited, I'm a major car nerd so it's taking discipline to stay put."
Based in: East Lansing
What they do: The company is working on "Ducted Counter-Vortex Radial Impeller Propulsion Technology." They've essentially created a bladeless drone. Mohyi has replaced the blades with impellers, rotating components that allow for a higher amount of propulsion per surface area. The key here is safety. Company officials say you could fly the drone at shoulder level or below because there's no threat of the device cutting anyone.
Targets: Drone delivery, Mohyi is also planning to scale up the technology for passenger transportation.
What's it like to be part of the first AutoMobili-D? "This is perfectly timed for us...very grateful to have the networking opportunity, everyone is so nice here," said Mohyi Labs Founder John Mohyi.
"It means a lot more to be in our home state. It's really a blessing," said Moyhi Labs CTO Jadeyn Yang.
Based in: Rochester Hills, Michigan
What they do: The company works on connected vehicle solutions. One of the products from the company is the GoPoint Nix and it's to help drivers avoid distracted driving. A device essentially plugs into the USB port in your car and syncs with your smartphone. When your car gets above 5 miles per hour, it locks your screen. "It helps people help themselves," says GoPoint Technology CFO Charles Nichols. If a parent wants to install it in their kid's vehicle, the system will also alert them when it is turned on and turned off.
What's it like to be part of the first AutoMobili-D? "It's a spot-on target for us, we're connected vehicle solutions," said Nichols. "This is a pure play rather than being at CES with everybody from everywhere."