Visteon gives self-driving car test site near Ypsilanti $5 million

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YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, MI – The American Center for Mobility has secured another $5 million in funding and its first Tier 1 automotive supplier to sponsor the connected and autonomous vehicle testing facility under construction in Ypsilanti Township.

Visteon Corp. is joining Toyota North America and its Research Institute, Ford Motor Co., AT&T and Hyundai America Technical Center as founding sponsors of The American Center for Mobility, which is being developed at a former General Motors factory located between Detroit and Ann Arbor.

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Visteon, headquartered in Van Buren Township, is an automotive cockpit electronics supplier currently developing smart technologies for connected and autonomous vehicles like its SmartCore domain controller.

The company is planning to test its DriveCore artificial intelligence-based autonomous driving platform at The American Center for Mobility, or ACM.

It is rolling out the new technology to the public at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next year.

Visteon will focus on four areas of testing and validation at ACM, according to the statement:

  • Autonomous driving algorithms
  • Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology and functionality, integrated with autonomous driving
  • Sensor technology
  • Security protocols

Visteon’s goals include creating fail-safe domain controller hardware that integrates data across connected and autonomous vehicles and using artificial intelligence to educate autonomous vehicles on how to detect objects and make decisions.

Sachin Lawande, president and CEO of Visteon, said in a statement the company is proud to be associated with ACM.

“The Center is ideally positioned to fulfill the need to further develop, test and validate new connected and automated vehicle technologies that offer great promise for the nation’s transportation system,” Lawande said in the statement. “Teaming with ACM will help advance our own autonomous driving platform while bringing significant benefits to consumers, transportation users and transportation operators.”

ACM’s site near the Willow Run Airport is designated as a national proving ground for autonomous vehicles, where work is being done to develop standards and education programs like the recently-announced Academic Consortium made up of 15 Michigan colleges and universities.

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Construction began in June on ACM’s multimillion dollar testing facility, about 10 miles outside of Ann Arbor, near the Willow Run Airport and the Yankee Air Museum.

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It is the former site of Willow Run, a manufacturing facility that first produced airplane bombers during World War II and later built vehicles for Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co.

ACM is a joint initiative with the State of Michigan founded in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., University of Michigan, Business Leaders for Michigan and Ann Arbor SPARK.

The $5 million sponsorship provided by Visteon will go toward funding the construction of the site, which started earlier this year, with the first part of Phase One expected to be complete by December 2017, ACM officials said.

Visteon’s contribution brings its fundraising total to around $106 million to continue developing the facility. Future phases of construction are planned to start next year.

Construction of autonomous vehicle-testing facility underway at old Willow Run site

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