Michigan, Australia to Partner on Transportation Technology

Research Will Focus on Lowering Emissions
Catherine King (left) and Gretchen Whitmer
Australian Minister Catherine King (left) and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the memorandum of understanding, which lasts for five years. (Catherine King MP via Twitter)

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Michigan and Australia have recommitted to collaborating on automotive and advanced transportation research, technology, trade and workforce skills, especially in digitalization and lowering emissions.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an updated memorandum of understanding for five years with Catherine King, Australian minister of infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government.

“Michigan is excited to work alongside Australia to continue growing our automotive, maritime and sustainable forest bioeconomy industries, fight climate change head-on, and collaborate to make mobility cleaner and safer,” Whitmer said. “This MOU will build on Michigan’s long-standing, shared heritage with Australia and help us to collaborate to create opportunities for safe, equitable and sustainable transportation options.”

The signing ceremony took place May 16 in Michigan and was attended by several leaders of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

King called the new pact a vehicle enabling continued bilateral cooperation among policymakers in the automotive and technology sectors.

“It promotes emission reduction outcomes, improves collaboration in future transport technologies and enhances supply chain connectivity,” King said, adding that Michigan is a long-standing global center for automotive industry innovation and a strategic international partner to further advance Australia’s transport technology.

Both striving to achieve zero emissions by 2050, Michigan and Australia entered into an MOU in 2018 to work on automobile and road technologies that enhance mobility.

The four-page agreement mentions research is needed to advance sustainability and decarbonization of vehicles.

“Participants see a need to strengthen their respective abilities to accelerate the commercialization of emerging technologies and the growth of domestic firms. Increasingly, global automotive supply chains are needed for resilient communities and to support efficient and competitive international markets,” the MOU noted.

Partnership's Goals

Objectives listed in the memorandum of understanding include:

  • Increasing cooperation in future transport technologies.
  • Enhancing interconnected bilateral automotive supply chains.
  • Promoting joint research on innovative transportation systems.
  • Deploying advanced transport technologies and systems.

It calls for Michigan and Australia to meet regularly and “encourage and facilitate the development of direct contact between interested academic institutions and academics, government institutions and businesses.”

Parties mentioned to work together on connected, automated and autonomous vehicle technologies are the Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment, Mcity, American Center for Mobility, Austroads, Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem and ITS Australia.

Among those to support mutual automotive supplier and aftermarket development are Automation Alley, MICHauto, World Economic Forum’s U.S. Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, Specialty Equipment Market Association and Center for Automotive Research.

Academic institutions to collaborate on research include Michigan State University, the University of Michigan (its Transportation Research Institute and Michigan Institute for Data Science), Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Melbourne’s Department of Infrastructure Engineering.

The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to send a delegation to ITS Australia. On Aug. 28-31, the ITS Australia Global Summit 2023 is to be held in Melbourne to “explore approaches to accelerating smarter, safer, sustainable transport by leveraging the ever-expanding capabilities of technology.”

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