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Michigan's Snyder (l) visits the Ford stand at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show (Photo: Ford)

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has launched a campaign to make  his state the global leader in mobility innovation,

The campaign, called “Planet M,” is designed to attract fresh business investment to a state that has traditionally been the center of the US automotive industry.

Michigan has been battling to preserve its automotive prominence as foreign competitors are building more cars in other parts of the country.

In addition, as the digital transformation of the industry picks up speed, many future-oriented R&D projects are undertaken in Silicon Valley, rather than in Michigan.

Snyder expressed confidence that Michigan can retain its leading position in the industry. “Michigan has always been the automotive industry leader, and as the transportation industry evolves, our state’s influence will continue to shape the way the world moves,” he said in an address at the Mackinac Policy Conference in northern Michigan.

Next year, the state will have two permanent autonomous vehicle testing sites. And an “American Center for Mobility” near Detroit will provide additional testing and validation resources for the industry.

Planet M will broaden the auto industry’s focus to include all aspects of personal mobility. But the car will continue to play a central role.

Said Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation: “Connected and autonomous vehicle technology holds promise as another major disruptive innovation, and Planet M ties it all together."