Happy Fourth of July everyone!
A belated happy 100th birthday to the Michigan State police, who are 100 years and a day old today:
Since April 19, 1917, the Michigan State Police has proudly served the citizens of Michigan. From a cavalry of 300 men to a full-service police agency of more than 2,900 members, the Michigan State Police has proven itself as a world-class leader in law enforcement.
The Michigan Department of State Police began as a temporary, wartime emergency force for the purpose of domestic security during World War I. On April 19, 1917, Governor Albert Sleeper created the Michigan State Troops Permanent Force, (also known as the Michigan State Constabulary). With Colonel Roy C. Vandercook as the first commanding officer, this new force consisted of five Troops of mounted, dismounted and motorized units, totaling 300 men. On March 26, 1919, Public Act 26 reorganized the Constabulary as the permanent, peace-time Michigan State Police.
Michigan adopted a new Constitution in 1963, authorizing up to 20 departments. Public Act 380 of 1965 reorganized the Michigan Department of State Police as one of these departments. The Director holds the rank of Colonel and is appointed by the Governor.
Today, the Michigan State Police consists of a modern-day force of law enforcement professionals, using the latest up-to-date training and technology to protect the citizens of Michigan. What was once a cavalry of 300 men now has evolved into one of the leading police agencies of the United States.
More #TBT (Throwback Thursdays) on Michigan in Pictures.
While Uber, Tesla & Google are getting most of the ink, WIRED magazine’s article Detroit Is Stomping Silicon Valley in the Self-Driving Car Race says:
IF YOU’RE BETTING on Silicon Valley stars like Google, Tesla, and Uber to free you from your horrorshow commute with autonomous driving technology, don’t. That’s the key takeaway from a new report that finds Ford—yes, the Detroit-based, 113-year-old giant—is winning the race to build the self-driving car, with General Motors running a close second. Renault-Nissan, Daimler, and Volkswagen round out the top five. Meanwhile, Waymo—aka Google’s driverless car effort—sits in sixth place, with Tesla in twelfth. Uber languishes in sixteenth, behind Honda and barely ahead of startup Nutonomy and China’s Baidu.
That may sound all kinds of wrong to anyone who has seen Uber, Waymo, and Tesla flaunt their tech, and regards Detroit’s old guard as ill-prepared for the robotic future. But it’s the state of the race according to Navigant Research, whose newly released “leaderboard” report ranks these players not just on their ability to make a car drive itself, but on their ability to bring that car to the mass market.
Ford and GM both score in the low to mid 80s on the technology front; it’s their old-school skills that float them to first and second place. They’ve each spent more than a century developing, testing, producing, marketing, distributing, and selling cars. Plus, each has made strategic moves to bolster weak points. Ford just dumped a billion dollars into an artificial intelligence outfit. It acquired ride-sharing service Chariot and invested in Velodyne, a company producing lidar, the laser scanning tech many argue is necessary for self-driving cars. GM scooped up self-driving expertise via a startup called Cruise, and partnered with Lyft to put the eventual result on the road.
Lots more in a great article from WIRED!
View the photo of an autonomous Ford Fusion hybrid bigger on Ford’s website.
More cars & autos on Michigan in Pictures.
I was on the fence about posting this, but after I found this cool photo I just had to! Michigan Radio reports that a new law directing the Michigan Department of Transportation to increase speed limits to 75 miles an hour on up to 600 miles of rural highways in the state will have consequences:
Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says there’s decades of research proving that more people will die as a result. For every five miles’ increase in the speed limit on interstates and highways, says Rader, fatal crashes increase 8%.
He says Michigan is not alone; many other states are also raising speed limits. He says very high speeds cancel out the life-saving features on cars like seat belts and front air bags.
“In 2013 alone, speed limit increases resulted in about 1900 additional deaths,” says Rader. “That would essentially cancel out the number of lives saved that year from front air bags.”
The Michigan Department of Transportation shared this awesome newsreel from the 1930s featuring all kinds of winter fun including ski jumping. Their predecessor, the Michigan Highway Department also used the video to talk up Michigan’s road system and winter road maintenance.
It was discovered by Nancy and Barbara Sleeper of Newberry, daughters of former Luce County Road Commission superintendent Sanborn Sleeper, and it’s super awesome!
Well, we’ve finally reached the future … or at least the future according to Back to the Future II because October 21, 2015 is Back to the Future Day! You can watch this video for a look at some of the predictions for 2015 that Back to the Future got right and also watch “Back to the Future New Years” – a music video that my friend Ben of The Rock Stop music school in Traverse City created in honor of this momentous year.
I should also add that while the iconic DeLorean was manufactured in Ireland, John DeLorean – an engineer who was youngest person to become a General Motors exec – founded the DeLorean Motor Company in Detroit on October 24, 1975.
More cars on Michigan in Pictures.
The 2015 North American International Auto Show starts this Saturday (Jan 17) and runs through next Sunday (Jan 25). Held at the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit, it remains the premier show for car enthusiasts. For a sneak peek, have a look at CNN’s highlights which appear to be split between “muscular” and “efficient” (unsurprising spoiler: muscular wins 70/30).
If you do attend, consider going on their photo day (Jan 20) for early access. In any case, if you are packing a camera you might want to enter their 2015 Photo Contest which offers five different prizes of $200 each.
More about NAIAS/Detroit Auto Show on Michigan in Pictures.