5/7/2014 | 1 MINUTE READ

U-Mich Mobility Center Adds Partners

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Six inaugural industry sponsors have joined the University of Michigan's new Mobility Transformation Center in Ann Arbor.

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Six inaugural industry sponsors have joined the University of Michigan's new Mobility Transformation Center in Ann Arbor.

Initial members of the leadership circle, each of which has pledged $1 million over three years, are Robert Bosch, Econolite Group, Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Xerox.

MTC broke ground on May 6 on a $6.5 million connectivity test facility it is developing with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation on the U-Mich. North Campus. When the 32-acre track opens this autumn, researchers will be able to use it to test connected and autonomous vehicles in a simulated urban environment.

The complex will be equipped with intersections, roundabouts, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, simulated buildings and such obstacles as construction zones.

The MTC aims to transfer results of work at the track to a 20,000-vehicle demonstration system in Ann Arbor and two other locations in southeast Michigan by 2021. Last year Ann Arbor was the site of a 3,000-vehicle test of connectivity and collision-avoidance technologies sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The MTC is headed by Peter Sweatman, who also directs the U-Mich. Transportation Research Institute. He says the center's mandate will extend well beyond the technical challenges of connectivity to include political, legal, regulatory, social, economic and urban planning.