DETROIT (WXYZ) — The state of Michigan is partnering with Ford Motor Company to develop a road of the future between Ann Arbor and Detroit. The first-of-its-kind corridor is designed for connected and autonomous vehicles.
The project was announced in front of the Michigan Central Station, which Ford has been rehabilitating to become the centerpiece of the company's campus for developing next-generation automobiles.
Construction of the corridor, which will include communities and destinations along both Michigan Avenue and i-94 in Wayne and Washtenaw counties, will be developed by Cavnue, a subsidiary of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners.
“The action we’re taking today is good for our families, our businesses, and our economy as a whole. Here in Michigan, the state that put the world on wheels, we are taking the initial steps to build the infrastructure to help us test and deploy the cars of the future,” said Governor Whitmer in a news release. “As we rebuild our roads to ensure every Michigander can drive to work and drop their kids at school safely, we will also continue working to build smart infrastructure to help prepare us for the roads of tomorrow. In Michigan, where the health of our workers and our economy are directly tied to the health of our auto industry, we will continue this innovative work to secure our state’s position as the automotive capital of the world.”
Cavnue will work with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and industry and local project partners throughout Phase One of the effort, which is expected to last approximately 24 months.
Along with Ford, the project also includes the University of Michigan and the American Center for Mobility.
The project is designed to build lanes that are purpose-built for autonomous and connected vehicles that will accelerate and enhance their potential and move people. It is meant to:
plan, design, and develop the world’s most sophisticated roadway, combining innovations in physical, digital, coordination, and operational infrastructure to help increase the safety, efficiency, resilience and operations of roadways, and improve the mobility experience for users by enabling a faster and more coordinated dedicated autonomous mobility corridor. At its core, the project is designed to be “future proofed” and evolve to meet transportation goals, beginning with connected buses and shared mobility vehicles such as vans and shuttles, and expanding to additional types of CAVs such as freight and personal vehicles.