Autonomous car tech startups in Detroit pitching innovation

- Across the world, as iconic as Aretha Franklin's Freeway of Love, are the cars that ride on them and the city that makes them. Now the next chapter reviving up in the Motor City: mobility.

Startups from across the globe have descended on Detroit to show off their wares. Auto execs and reps from tier one suppliers listened to ideas on how to drive the industry into the future.  

"Seeing highways like the Ford freeway or the Chrysler freeway or general motors Road, just seeing those names on streets was like an aspiring actor coming out to Hollywood," said Michael Diaz.

Diaz is bringing his company PolySync to the stage.  
  
"We make software and a little hardware to make working on autonomous vehicles easier and safer," he said. "We think we have the right unique mix of unique qualities and experiences to be the differentiator in the space."

The event is brought to Detroit by Silicon Valley based Plug and Play, which connects corporations to startups. About 100 companies are listening as 20 startups took to the stage making their pitches. Bosch, Ford, GM they're in the front row.  

"If we can bring enough partners together we may just open up an office and begin attracting startups from all over the world to work with corporations and investors that are unique to the Detroit area," said Candace Widdoes of Plug and Play.

And the ideas are global.  Ashley Cashion arrived from London with an idea Mercedes has already bid on, making GPS systems more user friendly. The system splitting the whole world into nine by nine squares -and calling up addresses using three words.  No really, That's the name of their company.  "What Three Words."  

"(We've) given each of them a three-word address using words from the dictionary," Cashion said. "So now you can navigate to anywhere in the world using just three words."

Plug and Play will unplug and head back to California leaving behind lots of traction and the hope they'll be back for good.  

"We are thrilled to have plug and play here in Detroit considering Detroit as their next home," said Amanda Roraff, Planet M. "They are in over 20 cities worldwide and we're excited they're considering Detroit."
 

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