The Ford Launchpad for Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship
About Our Program
With support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Southwest Airlines, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority has introduced the Ford Launchpad for Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship, or FLITE, which provides grants and pilot-testing opportunities to companies focused on bringing emerging air travel technology solutions to market. This is one of the first airport-based initiatives in the nation that provides funding to encourage the design and development of new products and services in a live airport environment.
How does it work?
The Ford International Airport has identified six core focus areas for new technology advancements through FLITE:
- Automation & Analytics - Improving operational efficiency and optimization of workforce and other resources through automation and analysis of data.
- Safety + Security - Strengthening passenger and worker safety and security throughout the airport campus.
- Enhanced Guest Experience - Improving the pre-boarding experience
- Sustainability – Switching fossil fuel vehicles and infrastructure to electrics and other decarbonization projects.
- Door to Door Experience – Improve the experience and efficiency of getting to and from the airport.
- Advancing Aviation - Exploring the enabling infrastructure and implications of emerging commercial aviation use cases.
How can I apply?
It is a rolling application process, with applications being reviewed every three months. The advisory committee will review and score each application. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Office of Future Mobility and Electrification will then schedule calls with applicants who received a high review score, before selecting and notifying the final grant recipients. Evaluation criteria includes, but is not limited to, partners, location, budget, timeline and metrics. Visit MEDC to learn more.