Connected Cars, Cheap Rides, Deadlines to Apply & More MI Tech News

Here’s a look at tech and innovation news from around Michigan:

—A University of Michigan startup called Cart is piloting a new service that offers low-cost rides to Detroit residents who want to go grocery shopping. Shoppers that live within five miles of one of Meijer’s two Detroit locations can pay $10 for a round-trip ride to the grocery store via the ridesharing service Lyft. (Meijer is donating the money to cover the rest of the fare.) Shoppers can order a ride from Cart’s website any day of the week between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., through March 22.

In a press release, Cart CEO Stacey Matlen said the service is designed to help some of the the 15 million Americans living in low-income areas where the nearest supermarket is more than a mile away, and who do not have access to a vehicle. If you’re wondering why Detroiters don’t simply take the bus instead, you should read up on our coverage of the Motor City’s public transportation woes.

The American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti has been designated one of 10 national proving grounds for autonomous vehicle testing by the U.S. Department of Transportation. More than 60 facilities applied for the designation, according to a press release; the ACM is the first and only proving ground designated in Michigan so far. The ACM was an attractive applicant due in part to its proximity to U-M’s Mcity research facility and its four-season climate for testing road conditions. It also offers a range of driving environments, including a 2.5-mile highway loop, a 700-foot curved tunnel, two double overpasses, intersections, and roundabouts.

—Kettering University and Ford are teaming up to offer summer classes to kids in Flint. Thanks to a $32,000 grant from Ford’s Corporate STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math] fund, 20 high school students will learn how to create model electric vehicles during a day camp in July. The funds from Ford will go toward registration fees, supplies, and transportation for the students.

The idea for the summer camp came from Prashant Javkar, manager of STEAM strategy and programs at Ford, after he visited a computer science camp and the university’s robotics center last summer and came away impressed, according to a press release. “This new summer camp will provide the students an opportunity to learn various aspects of a STEM curriculum and then allow them to apply the same through academic exercises and challenges,” Javkar said.

StudySoup, which describes itself as a “peer-to-peer learning marketplace,” is offering a $1,000 Women in Technology scholarship to a college student pursuing a career in computer science or computer programming. Any woman age 18 or older is eligible as long as she is currently attending an accredited college or university, or plans to next year. The deadline is May 17, 2017; click here to apply.

—More application deadlines: The annual Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, slated for May 17-18, is accepting applications from “mid-stage startup companies” that want the opportunity to present a 10-minute pitch to investors at the event. Local VCs will whittle down the applicants and choose 36 companies to present at this year’s symposium. The deadline to submit is March 7; apply here under the “Presenting Companies” tab.

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows program is also accepting applications for its 2017-2019 cohort. The program matches young professionals with civic, community, and economic development organizations that are working in the trenches to improve life in Detroit. Fellows serve two years in full-time, salaried positions while engaging in trips, community meetings, and other leadership-development activities. (The program is highly competitive; according to a press release, the 20 people selected for the 2015-2017 cohort came from a pool of more than 650 applicants.) The deadline is Feb. 10; click here to apply. To learn more about the program, attend an information session next week being held locally or online.

—And finally, personnel news: Arboretum Ventures, based in Ann Arbor, has promoted Tom Shehab to managing director. Shehab spent 12 years as a practicing physician and hospital administrator before joining Arboretum in 2014, and he’s also a healthtech entrepreneur.

Tetra Discovery Partners, the Grand Rapids-based biotech startup working on treatments for Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders, has appointed Richard Erwin as vice president of clinical operations. Erwin comes to Tetra after serving as executive director of clinical project management for Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, where he oversaw the global phase 3 development of VaxChora, a single-dose cholera vaccine. Tetra’s lead drug candidate is BPN14770, a novel therapeutic agent that improves memory and cognition.

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