Ford Media Center

Ford’s Michigan Central and Newlab Collaborate to Drive Sustained Mobility Innovation Investment in Detroit

  • Launch two new studios aimed at solving tomorrow’s transportation challenges and preparing cities, regions and industries for a connected, autonomous and electrified future
  • The studios will work together with Detroit and Michigan-based accelerators and incubators, helping to grow the local startup ecosystem and add new talent, businesses and capital
  • Julie Roscini, Ford’s ​head of external engagement for Michigan Central, ​and Shaun Stewart, Newlab CEO, to hold fireside chat on June 26 as part of Detroit Startup Week

DEARBORN, Mich., June 25, 2020 Michigan Central, Ford Motor Company’s development in Corktown, ​and Newlab​, home to over 800 engineers, entrepreneurs, and inventors applying transformative technologies to things that matter, today announced a collaboration to foster an innovation ecosystem committed to helping shape the future of mobility in a way that benefits everyone. Pairing Ford’s automotive industry leadership with Newlab’s successful studio model, the alliance aims to tackle complex transportation problems related to connectivity, autonomy and electrification. 

Two years ago, Ford purchased 1.2 million square feet in Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, including the historic Michigan Central Station, with plans to establish a new mobility innovation district. Called Michigan Central, the district will be an open platform for partnerships, drawing the best minds from Detroit and around the world to co-create and test mobility solutions on real-world streets, in real-world situations. The first work spaces within Michigan Central will open in 2022.

Michigan Central and Newlab will launch two new studios focused on mobility that will ultimately live within the district. A corporate studio sponsored by Ford will kick off this summer to address macro mobility issues, and as part of Ford’s commitment to the local community, a second civic studio will follow focusing on more immediate mobility issues in the neighborhoods around Michigan Central Station.                                                                                                                                          

“The goal of the Michigan Central district is to spur development of new transportation solutions and our collaboration with Newlab will bring even more talent to the region to join Ford in creating the future of mobility,” said Julie Roscini who leads the development’s external engagement strategy for Ford​. “The mobility studios will help us lay the foundation for the innovation ecosystem of partners and collaborators we want to create in Corktown.”   

Newlab’s studio model brings top entrepreneurs, engineers, and inventors together with leaders and experts across cities, regions and industries to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.​ To date, Newlab has supported its member companies in raising over $700M in capital, with over $400M of recent acquisitions, and a collective valuation of over $2.6B.

In establishing the mobility innovation studios for Michigan Central, Newlab will work together with the existing community of accelerators and incubators in Detroit and Michigan, attracting talent and capital from outside the region and supporting homegrown companies and entrepreneurs.

Newlab will draw on talent from its existing community of 155 startups, especially those companies helping make cities more equitable, livable and resilient. Its member companies include Carmera, a road intelligence platform; Tarform,​ ​a new type of electric motorcycle​; Optimus Ride, the first AV shuttle in New York; and Roadpo​wer Systems, a platform to generate grid-grade electricity using energy recovered  from vehicles in motion. With a CEO at the helm of Newlab who spent over two years building the self-driving car business at Waymo, a division of Google X, mobility has naturally emerged as a focal point.    

“Detroit is the birthplace for modern manufacturing, and Ford is the beating heart of the country’s automotive industry. This is why Michigan Central is the perfect place for Newlab’s model of collaborative, diverse, and dynamic innovation,” said Shaun Stewart, CEO of Newlab. “Our studio model will support the overall development of Michigan’s startup ecosystem, making the pie bigger for everyone and helping local startups to stay, grow and thrive here.”

Julie Roscini and Shaun Stewart will hold a virtual, live-streamed fireside chat, tomorrow, June 26 as part of Detroit Startup Week. The discussion will cover the mobility innovation studios and how they will involve the Detroit and Michigan startup and tech community. To join, please click here.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification; mobility solutions, including self-driving services; and connected services.  Ford employs approximately 188,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.

About Michigan Central

Michigan Central is a new mobility innovation district in Corktown, Detroit. It is a sustainable community of new and revitalized buildings, including the historic Michigan Central Station, shared spaces, a first-of-its-kind mobility testing platform, and 1.2 million square feet of commercial space. It will serve as an open platform for partnerships, drawing leading entrepreneurs, researchers, and technologists from Detroit and around the world to co-create and test new products and services on real-world streets, in real-world situations. It will be a place to solve urban transportation challenges, improve mobility access for everyone, and prepare for a more connected, autonomous and electrified world ahead. For more information, please visit www.michigancentral.ford.com.

About Newlab

Newlab applies transformative technologies to things that matter. Home to over 800 top entrepreneurs, engineers, and inventors, solving the world’s biggest challenges with leaders and experts across industries and cities. Technology disciplines include robotics, artificial intelligence, and materials science all applied to create solutions for pressing problems in public health, the environment, truth in media, our cities, and infrastructure. For more information regarding Newlab, its members or studios, please visit ​www.newlab.com​.

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