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Two New Executive Orders Strengthen Michigan’s Position Atop the Mobility Sector

February 26, 2020
Automotive Advisory

Connected vehiclesGov. Gretchen Whitmer signed two executive orders on February 25, 2020 which strengthen Michigan’s position as a global leader in autonomous and connected vehicle development.

The first executive order directed the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) to create a new Michigan Office of Future Mobility to be led by a chief mobility officer. The Office of Future Mobility will be charged with leading the strategic coordination of all mobility-related initiatives across economic development, workforce and infrastructure efforts in the state. One of the Office’s objectives will be to facilitate increased collaboration between public and private sector partners. In her executive order, Gov. Whitmer named several goals for the state as a whole:

  • Drive investment in Michigan’s mobility sector by establishing Michigan as the premier state to build, test, commercialize and scale the technologies that are redefining the field.
  • Protect and strengthen Michigan’s auto manufacturing core by bolstering its national competitiveness and marking a path for its evolution.
  • Encourage entrepreneurship and create an ecosystem that supports young companies as they start up and scale up.
  • Invest in new ways and at new scale in Michigan’s workforce to develop and attract the skills and talent necessary to meet the changing demands of the mobility sector.
  • Expand Michigan’s global leadership in developing the systems and networks necessary for the deployment of connected infrastructure, autonomous technologies, shared transportation and electric vehicles.

The second executive order established a Michigan Council on Future Mobility and Electrification, which will act in an advisory capacity to the governor and Michigan legislature by providing annual recommendations on changes in state policy to ensure Michigan remains a leader in future mobility.

Michigan has already enacted several laws to position itself as a leader in autonomous vehicle development. Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders demonstrate that the legislature and state regulators will work with private sector partners to encourage innovation and investment in the state.

Varnum's autonomous and connected vehicle team is led by Jeff Stefan, a former autonomous vehicle counsel for a major OEM, who possesses both unparalleled industry knowledge and experience in this space. Varnum’s team includes attorneys who have worked closely with product development and business operation teams, providing counsel on laws and regulations addressing federal motor vehicle safety standards, product liability, transportation services, customer user experience and vehicle connectivity. Varnum also has significant public policy experience in this area on both the state and federal levels. For more information, please contact Jeff Stefan or your Varnum attorney.

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