YPSILANTI, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan’s automotive future got a jump start Monday afternoon with a major groundbreaking.
The American Center for Mobility hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a new facility that will test new automotive technology, like driverless cars.
Governor Rick Snyder and other big names in Michigan government grabbed shovels for the ceremony in Ypsilanti.
“This is about the transformation of the auto industry to the mobility industry,” Gov. Snyder said.
At the famous Willow Run site, where war bombers were made and General Motors once had a parts plant, a state of the art facility will be built to test autonomous cars.
Several private companies along with state and local government came together to make this $80 million facility happen.
Gov. Snyder says Michigan has an opportunity to be at the forefront of this new industry.
“We are making a statement to the world, that the center of that universe is right here. And let’s lead the world to a more productive society,” Gov. Snyder said.
Michigan is the state that put the world behind a steering wheel.
And now, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow says we have what it takes to put the world in a passenger seat.
“I hope people are going to look back on 2016 and say that’s what is happening right now. We’ve got the workers, we have the team. We have the public-private partnership, the leaders in innovation,” Sen. Stabenow said.
The facility hopes to be open by December 2017.
When it comes to autonomous vehicles driving on public roads in Michigan, the governor says he plans to sign a series of bills that will allow consumers to buy and use driverless cars when they become available to the public.
Michigan is one of eight states that allow autonomous vehicles for testing purposes only.
YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – Developers of what is billed as a world-class testing facility for driverless vehicles are breaking ground.
Gov. Rick Snyder and other officials attended a groundbreaking today for the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti Township.
“Michigan is reinventing the way the world moves. We are second-to-none when it comes to automotive and technological innovation, and we remain committed to making sure that stays true for generations to come,” Gov. Snyder said.
The facility will be located at the 335-acre site of a former General Motors Willow Run plant.
Willow Run Arsenal of Democracy Landholdings Limited Partnership recently bought the property, paving the way for construction. The center plans to open in December 2017.
It will be available for use by private industry, government, standards bodies and academia. Companies will be able to lease office space, garages and other amenities.
During World War II the Willow Run plant was used to produce B-24 bombers, in addition to the powertrain for General Motors vehicles.