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TARDEC to Support Southeastern Michigan Automotive-Robotics Initiative

In efforts to partner Michigan’s automotive-based companies with Department of Defense (DOD) robotic requirements, several organizations are coming together to create an Automotive-Robotics Cluster July 28 and 29 at Oakland University, Rochester, MI. 

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Great Lakes Chapter (AVUSI-GLC) is hosting the event at the Oakland Center to initiate business planning for a Robotics Cluster Initiative. 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) are co-hosting the event. Other organizations involved include the DOD Office of Small Business Programs, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Automation Alley. 

“The goal of the initiative is to create a roadmap and help identify Michigan automotive-based corporations to grow the emerging robotics cluster in Michigan,” explained Dave Thomas, AVUSI-GLC President and TARDEC Intelligent Ground Systems Director. “We are hoping to expand the Defense Department’s Mentor-Protégé Robotics Initiative by helping these corporations compete for prime contract and subcontract awards.” 

The DOD Mentor-Protégé Program assists small businesses (Protégés) to successfully compete for contracts by partnering with large companies (Mentors) under individual, project-based agreements. 

“Michigan has the people, expertise and academic institutions to build on,” Thomas said. 

During the workshop, the SBA will host a small business resource center workshop to provide information about resources available through the SBA, DOD, MEDC and other economic development authorities. 

For more information about registering for the event visit

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