Sterling Heights

New robotics center highlights Macomb 'tech and talent' push at Auto Show

A new Robotics Collaboration and Innovation Center will launch in Sterling Heights later this year, as part of a drive to compete with technology hubs around the country.

Leaders from Macomb County presented the initiative at the North American International Auto Show yesterday, encouraging stakeholders and company leaders to partner with the program. With rapid changes in economy, infrastructure and education, county executive Mark A. Hackel says the region needs to invest in new programs aimed at technology and talent.

“New technologies are having a massive effect on just about every aspect of our lives,” says Hackel. “We want to make sure that our communities and residents are prepared for the future in ways that will ensure our success.”

The new robotics center will be housed at the Velocity Collaboration Center on 18 Mile Road and will be partnering with businesses, educational organizations, nonprofits and startups. Plans describe it as a facility and ecosystem which will offer co-sharing and individual work spaces, computers, software and related technologies. It will also feature a tooling and fabrication shop, engineering and computer science assistance, business development assistance and mentors from leading automotive, defense, manufacturing and technology firms.

The center was submitted by the Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) as a proposal to the Defense Industry Growth Area Grants program through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation last summer, and was recently awarded funding.

“Ultimately, we hope to bring existing engineering talent from major employers across Southeast Michigan into an environment where new ideas and technologies can be created,” says John Paul Rea, director of MCPED.

“The possible benefits are endless.”

Rea says the Auto Show is the perfect chance to highlight the new initiatives.

“This show is a testament to our region’s ingenuity and ability to grow and innovate. So we’re proud to showcase our county’s future-focused mindset here,” says Rea.
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Kate Roff is an award-winning freelance writer and journalism educator, currently based out of Detroit. She is the managing editor of Metromode and Model D. Contact her at