Bedestrian awarded $100,000 Michigan Mobility Challenge grant

Contact: Jean Ruestman, Administrator, MDOT Office of Passenger Transportation 517-373-6625
Agency: Transportation

September 28, 2018 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced today that Bedestrian was awarded a $100,000 Michigan Mobility grant for testing delivery of food and pharmaceuticals with their autonomous delivery vehicle. The $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge is a grant initiative to use technology and innovation to address core mobility gaps for seniors, persons with disabilities, and veterans across the state.

Bedestrian will use this funding to demonstrate a solution via the integration of its software and hardware into an autonomous vehicle uniquely designed to operate both indoors and on open roads.

"We are grateful for the State of Michigan's leadership in creating a tremendous environment for startups designing the future of mobility. This grant and the partnership with state agencies and local municipalities will accelerate our ability to deploy our technology into the real world, solving problems for real people," said Shadi Mere, founder and chief operating officer of Bedestrian. "We believe a big part of the mobility future is its intersection with healthcare. Serving some of our most vulnerable, homebound populations through delivery of goods and services - meeting them where they are - can allow them to remain independent and healthy."

MDOT issued a Call for Projects in early June and received 43 proposals, requesting nearly $27 million in funding. Eight projects have been selected for full or partial funding in the first round, with the potential for more projects to be funded later in the year.

The Michigan Mobility Challenge grants are being awarded to fund the demonstration of projects of varying sizes using new technology and innovative service models. The grants will be used to subsidize a portion of the cost to plan, deliver and monitor the demonstration services for a three- to six-month period, with the remaining costs being covered from fares, local contributions and other funds. Projects are located in urban, rural and suburban communities of varying sizes throughout Michigan and will be coordinated with current services to enhance the existing transportation network in an area.

"Providing equitable and accessible transportation options for all Michigan citizens to access the goods and services they need is a priority," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "The $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge allows us to better utilize the assets we have and introduce new methods for solving mobility gaps and getting travelers to their destinations as safely and efficiently as possible."

Unveiled at the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference, the $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge is intended to engage the state's robust technology, startup and transportation networks, along with service providers, advocacy groups and state agencies, including MDOT, PlanetM/Michigan Economic Development Corp., the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and the Bureau of Services to Blind Persons.

"New mobility solutions offer opportunities to make our communities safer, greener and more productive in a way that allows all people to uphold their dignity," said Trevor Pawl, group vice president of PlanetM, the State of Michigan's mobility-focused brand and business development program. "The evolution of transportation demands collaboration between state, industry, community, advocacy, and higher education leaders working together to make sure advancements in how we live, travel and use services improve that quality of life for everyone."

More information about the program is available online at www.michigan.gov/mobilitychallenge. Follow on social media with the hashtag #mimobilitychallenge.