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PlanetM awards $280K to ease COVID-19 transportation problems in Michigan

Keith Laing
The Detroit News

Five companies will get $280,000 worth of grants to develop solutions to "mobility challenges" created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding, which comes from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s PlanetM, will be used to help a Grand Haven company create a system that automatically disinfects vehicles after passenger exit; develop self-driving "contactless" deliveries in Rochester and Grand Rapids; and allow two Metro Detroit companies to produce barriers between drivers and passengers in commercial vehicles.

Grand Haven-based GHSP has developed a mobile ultraviolet-C treatment known as Grēnlite that senses when occupants exit a shared vehicle and then disinfects the air and high-touch surfaces. The company gets $80,000 for a pilot program to install it in Ann Arbor-based May Mobility’s shuttle fleet as part of the Grand Rapids Autonomous Vehicle Initiative.

•Grand Haven-based GHSP has developed a mobile ultraviolet-C treatment known as Grēnlite that senses when occupants exit a shared vehicle and then disinfects the air and high-touch surfaces. The company gets $80,000 for a pilot program to install it in Ann Arbor-based May Mobility Inc.’s autonomous shuttle fleet as part of the Grand Rapids Autonomous Vehicle Initiative. 

•Gatik, a Palo Alto, California-based autonomous delivery company, is receiving a $100,000 grant for a pilot program that will allow an unnamed company described as "one of the state's largest retailers" to automate their on-road transportation network to allow for contactless deliveries. They will follow fixed routes in Grand Rapids and Rochester.

•Troy-based Penske Vehicle Services, which provides fleet services for original equipment manufacturers, and Roseville-based RCO Engineering,  each get $28,000 to produce partitions that provide barriers between passengers and drivers in commercial vehicles. RCO will outfit vehicles from the city of Detroit.

•Huntersville, N.C.-based Pratt Miller, an engineering and product development company, gets a $50,000 grant for a disinfecting robot, known as LaaD, that will roam and clean the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids. 

klaing@detroitnews.com