A Tiny Car Aims to Shake Up Urban Commutes

Innova’s Dash car is helping universities and cities travel smarter.

The North American International Auto Show is where much of the auto industry chooses to show off new technology. As WDET’s Jennifer Weingart reports…the show can be a great place to get noticed…if you’re one of the new kids on the block.


Just outside the back door of Cobo Center by the river there is a small car company giving rides this week.


Literally a company that makes small cars.


The Innova Dash is a tiny vehicle that’s looking to shake up how cities and university campuses travel short distances.


Pier Massuto is the Chief Technology Officer for Innova. This week he’s also a chauffeur of sorts. “Today, I’m a driver as well,” Massuto says. “We are a relatively small company so we do wear different hats.”


The Dash is small…the size of a golf cart but taller…and runs on a battery. The one Massuto is driving is painted red with The Ohio State University logo on the doors. Innova is working with Ohio State to make the vehicles autonomous.


Massuto says the car fills a very specific gap, “Municipalities and Universities where transportation is a challenge for different reasons.”


He says on campus the Dash can help with congestion and parking, and it can be used as a maintenance vehicle to move workers around quickly.


“We’re green, we’re lower cost, and we don’t provide just the vehicle we provide the full platform to a University,” Massuto says. “So they get the vehicles, they get the data that the vehicle collects as well as the back end with the app.”


The Dash is currently on campuses in Washington State, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Colorado. The company has also partnered with the city of Itasca, Illinois to connect residents with public transportation into Chicago.


Massuto says the next step for Innova is to expand into more cities and universities.