Today, we celebrated the opening of the American Center for Mobility, in Ypsilanti Township. The event was a great reminder that Michigan remains the center of automotive innovation and talent, and that Michigan offers a variety in weather conditions to more aggressively test the capabilities of the self-driving cars. It was unusually cold and windy today.
As part of the event, we heard from Governor Snyder, Lt. Governor Calley, Congresswoman Dingell, Supervisor Stumbo, and CEO John Maddox who shared their combined vision and drive behind the creation of ACM which is a purpose-built facility for testing and validating self-driving and connected technology.
Microsoft was announced as a new partner bringing their experience in Intelligent Cloud services to ACM, adding to the ranks of Subaru, Toyota, Ford, AT&T, Hyundai, Adient, and other private sector partners.
The grand opening also provided an opportunity to do a tour on the 2 1/2 mile highway speed testing loop and learn about the capabilities like a tunnel, overhead pass, intersection and more that are being developed within this 350-acre site. We learned that some testers had already attempted the loop at over 100 miles an hour to help validate taking a self-driving car at that speed.
The grand opening was also an opportunity to take a step back and appreciate how far we have been able to come with the project. This has often been called a labor of love for Ann Arbor SPARK, and our involvement goes all the way back to 2013 when we developed a white paper outlining the opportunities for self-driving technology validation and how they could fit into Willow Run.