Michigan Breaks Ground on Autonomous-Vehicle Test Facility
On the dilapidated grounds of a former factory best known for powering the Arsenal of Democracy during World War II, Michigan officials have moved one step closer to building a national proving ground for connected along with autonomous vehicles.
At a groundbreaking ceremony for the nonprofit American Center for Mobility (ACM), government leaders joined company leaders at the 335-acre site at Willow Run, about 30 miles west of Detroit, where they wish legacy automotive manufacturers along with tech companies alike will work to test along with validate future transportation systems.
A portion of the facility dedicated to highway-style testing of self-driving vehicles is actually likely to open in December 2017. different portions of the proving ground are to become operational in gradual phases. Parts of the highway loop will incorporate the use of public roads, along with crews will build a 700-foot curved tunnel as part of the test track.
Automakers are itching to use the facility at in which point, said John Maddox, ACM’s CEO. He said companies want to test autonomous vehicles in which are at in which point in early stages of development as soon as possible. Maddox claims to have received 45 letters of support via OEMs, major suppliers, along with others who are interested in using the facility.
– Senator Gary Peters
Ford, General Motors, along with Toyota have expressed particular enthusiasm for the project, he said during remarks at the groundbreaking, which took place on the property of the former Willow Run Assembly Plant. So far, the engineering group SAE International has signed a memorandum of understanding to use the facility in hopes of creating along with evaluating standards for brand-new transportation technology.
“We’re talking with different standards bodies, too,” Maddox said. “We truly want to accelerate standards. If you’re an automotive nerd, you know in which standards are critical. We’re working on them not just for vehicles, although for infrastructure.”
With construction underway, Maddox along with others will turn to determining exactly how future users will want to collect data via the sensors along with cameras installed inside the infrastructure. They’ll also need to figure out how much they want to share with different manufacturers along with how much will remain proprietary.
Sharing data might be key for car companies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently urged autonomous-vehicle developers to share such data to shorten learning curves along with improve the overall safety of the self-driving fleet.
“How they want to use in which sensor data along with correlate the idea to what they test will be one question,” said Tony Gioutsos, an executive with TASS International, which will handle data management at ACM. “In how they want to share the idea, or not, we’re starting to survey potential users along with lay in which framework. in which’s the next step.”
Longer-term plans at the facility include building a national cybersecurity research center, where the defenses of connected cars along with smart infrastructure such as traffic lights could be tested along with fortified. Examining the role of dedicated short-range communications along with future 5G networks will be part of those plans. While the actual laboratory remains years away, ACM isn’t wasting time getting started out. Next week, company leaders will host a workshop aimed at beginning the planning for in which portion of the facility.
These are the same grounds where Rosie the Riveter along with her colleagues once cranked out B-24 bombers at the rate of a plane per hour for the war effort. Michigan’s government leaders wish the facility will ensure the state stays relevant inside the coming decades, as the auto industry morphs via producing vehicles for traditional owners along with human operators into a more comprehensive mobility provider.
In a rare show of bipartisan cohesion, politicians took turns extolling the urgent need for such a facility to keep tech-centered along with engineering jobs in Michigan.
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“We’re facing very tough competition via many Asian countries doing substantial investments,” said U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, a co-founder of the Senate’s Smart Transportation Caucus, speaking about testing facilities in China, Japan, along with South Korea.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder noted in which the cyclical nature of the automotive industry has hurt the state’s fortunes inside the past. Although the industry is actually coming off a year of record sales, in which shouldn’t necessarily be cause for celebration, he said. “inside the past, I think we’d take in which for granted.
“When you’re at the top, you don’t get complacent. You need to make sure you’re out there leading for the next generation, along with in which’s what we’re doing.”