In the race for connected and automated vehicle development, Michigan continues to solidify its leadership with the grand opening of its latest asset, the American Center for Mobility (ACM). Government, automotive and technology leaders gathered at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti on Wednesday to mark the official opening of ACM with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“We should be proud in Michigan; we are the place that put the world on wheels. We have had that leadership for over a century, but it is not something you can take for granted,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “We are at a point now in the evolution of our society and economy where there is a new world of mobility coming. It is critically important that Michigan maintain its leadership from the past century for the next century. But to do that, you must step forward and create new ideas and take risks. That is what the ACM represents.”
Snyder said the ACM’s opening could not have come at a better time in light of the recent accident involving an Uber self-driving test in Arizona. Calling the accident a learning experience, the Governor said studying autonomous vehicle data to make sure cars are road-ready will be a key focus at the new facility.
“Mobility will bring us a safer world in terms of saving lives, creating opportunity for economically disadvantaged people or those with disabilities, and helping with infrastructure efficiency for a better outcome for all of us,” Snyder said. “This is not just something theoretical. This is a place that can be at the forefront of improving our lives and creating opportunities for the entire world.”
ACM officially opened to partners last year with the completion of the first phase of construction, which includes a 2.5-mile highway loop with on- and off-ramps, a 700-degree curved tunnel, customer garage and operations center. Phase two will feature a technology park, an urban driving environment, and ACM's new headquarters. Construction is already underway, according to President and CEO John Maddox.
“We built ACM on a truly collaborative approach, working with industry, government and academia on a local, regional and national level. We could not have gotten here without our partners and supporters,” Maddox said, adding his personal thanks to the Detroit Regional Chamber’s MICHauto initiative along with Ann Arbor Spark, Business Leaders for Michigan, the state of Michigan, and Ypsilanti Township.
ACM is supported largely through private sector sponsors, who can in turn use the site for product testing and development. Microsoft is the most recent sponsor, joining Adient, AT&T, Ford Motor Company, Hyundai America Technical Center, Subaru, Toyota Motor Corp., and Visteon.
“There is not a more exciting time for our state than now. Michigan has always been the home of the auto industry and will always stay the home of the auto industry. We are driving mobility and we are at the forefront of innovation and technology. The ACM represents the best of local, regional and national collaboration and leadership working together,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12).
For more information, visit http://www.acmwillowrun.org/.