American Center for Mobility breaks ground in Ypsilanti on driverless car test site

American Center for Mobility hopes to be epicenter of driverless car development

YPSILANTI, Mich. – The American Center for Mobility hopes to become the epicenter of autonomous vehicle development, and it took a major step forward Monday. It will spring from the old Willow Run auto plant to become a one-of-a-kind testing center.

Workers broke ground on the site Monday, and Local 4 toured it with one of the people who wants to see the future invented on the site.

It already has elements of a ghost town or Hollywood back lot. An abandoned triple-decker bridge is ideal for the simulated highway loop. An urban intersection will test how cars handle six converging lanes of traffic.

The state of Michigan has provided $20 million to start the project but must work over the next several months to secure $60 million in additional federal and private money to finish the project.

It will also test smart road technology, connection traffic lights and vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Michigan can also offer testing during four seasons' worth of challenges.

There are 44 different automotive companies that have signed on to participate. They expect to have the highway test loop completed by December 2017, which means the next tour might be given without a driver behind the wheel.

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