Good news for some auto manufacturers! There’s a new facility in Michigan, which was recently built as a venue for autonomous vehicle testing. Located in Ann Arbor, the testing center cost approximately $135 million dollars, were Ford and Toyota are reportedly some of the investors. While it is not complete yet, the American Center for Mobility provides an environment where real-world driving situations can be re-created for autonomous car testing.
The facility has a 2.5-meter (four kilometer) highway, curved tunnel (700 feet), two double overpasses, roundabouts, and intersections. Car companies have the ability to test under a variety of weather conditions (rain, snow, ice, etc.) and in night and day driving hours.
Last week, Motortrend revealed that Toyota engineers arrived for a driver training program and orientation. In addition to Toyota, its cars’ electronic supplier Visteon, mark the first two organizations to use the facility. Other companies are expected to be coming shortly.
To date, the first two phases of the project have received $110 million U.S. dollars via funding, with more coming soon. Phase one began in May 2017 and the next phase starts in the spring of next year, and an urban drive setting will be added at this time.
Interestingly enough, the test center sits on a historical site where B-24 bombers were developed during World War 2. The 500-acre site will undoubtedly help the state of Michigan when it comes to staying relevant in the car game as auto technology seems to revolve around Silicon Valley recently.
In addition to Visteon, Toyota, and Ford, other companies investing in the test center include Hyundai America Technical Center and AT&T. While other organizations can use the facilities when needed, these companies have priority when it comes to testing.
The world of self-driving vehicles is becoming more and more a reality and this test center is proof that it’s only a matter of time before cars will be able to drive themselves from point A to point B.