Driverless shuttles gain steam in Michigan

The greatest gripe about driverless buses? No music, according to a group of Michiganders who tested some. That’s good news for officials worried about the public’s more substantive concerns about getting on a bus without a driver. State officials are cautiously experimenting with driverless shuttles on university campuses and elsewhere. One promising opportunity is their use by people who are disabled. By Evan Jones.

Robotics manufacturing shows Michigan’s automation leadership

Economic development and manufacturing experts say Michigan’s deep roots in industrial innovation are leading to yet another industrial revolution. Robots, software and other automation technology are at its forefront, but a skilled workforce is needed to make it work. This could be the emerging bright spot of an economy built on the state’s automotive heritage. We talk to experts at Michigan Technological University, Northwestern Michigan College, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Michigan Tech, a robotics company and a Bay City lawmaker. By Evan Jones.

Michigan experts say businesses, farmers harmed in China trade wars


LANSING — The trade war between the world’s two largest economies has lasted for nearly one year and has already affected U.S industries and consumers, especially buyers and sellers of two items important in Michigan — soybeans and auto parts. Economists have long argued that tariffs come with real income losses. A newly published research article from the Centre for Economic Policy Research, a research network based in London, found that by the end of 2018, import tariffs were costing U.S. consumers and companies that import goods an extra $3 billion per month in added tax costs and an additional $1.4 billion per month in reduction in real income. “Everything affects everything, and everything is related to everything,” said Erkan Kocas, an international trade specialist at the Michigan State University International Business Center. Kocas said that an individual’s income and needs don’t change in spite of tariffs.

Michigan vehicle thefts drop

Capital News Service

LANSING —  Michigan vehicle thefts dropped from 50,000 in 2006 to less than 20,000 in 2017, according to a recent auditor general’s report. Michigan’s vehicle theft peaked in the 1980s, prompting former Gov. James Blanchard to implement the Auto Theft Prevention Authority, a program that combines community and law enforcement efforts to decrease vehicle thefts. The program awarded $4 million in grants to 20 organizations in 2018 to investigate, apprehend, prosecute and prevent vehicle theft, said Kelly Miller, state relations officer for the Auditor General’s Office. “The money comes from auto insurance assessments,” Miller said. ”One dollar is allocated to the fund for every personal, passenger and commercial vehicle receiving insurance.”

The program’s board of directors decides how that money is allocated to law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, nonprofit organizations and state departments.

WATCH: Parents are being investigated for cheating the college admissions process, Eight Americans were killed in a plane crash and two shootings in Tennessee leaves two dead.

This week on the Spartan Newsroom update: Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin are among a handful of parents being investigated for cheating college admission processes for prestigious colleges including Yale and Stanford. Safety concerns about the Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes continue after an Ethiopian plane crash and two shootings in Tennessee leave two people injured and two dead.

Watch Focal Point: CMU sexual assault goes to trial, campus robberies continue, Michigan native wins an Oscar, and more.

On this edition of Focal Point, get an overview of a CMU sexual assault going to trial, campus robberies continue in a dorm and in the Eppley Center, and a Michigan native wins an Oscar. In sports, MSU men’s basketball won against Michigan and a high school wrestler shows what true sportsmanship is like. Those stories and more this week on Focal Point.