The University of Michigan will begin building a new $6.5 million autonomous-vehicle test track on campus in Ann Arbor, Mich., this fall after the Board of Regents approved the final design for the facility last week. The facility is part of ongoing efforts to make southeastern Michigan the hub for research and development of advanced vehicle technology.
Architectural firm Mannik Smith Group submitted the winning design for the Mobility Transformation Facility, which will include features such as:
- A 5-mile road with twists and turns;
- A four-lane, 1,000-ft straight asphalt road;
- Merge lanes;
- Asphalt and concrete urban streets;
- A traffic circle;
- A crushed-gravel road; and
- A concrete calibration pad.
New infrastructure will also be installed in and around the facility, including security fencing, a covered pavilion, lighting and electrical and networking equipment.
The hope among university researchers is that the Mobility Transformation Facility will attract industry- and government-funded parties interested in advanced vehicle technology to Ann Arbor and the surrounding region.
The city has already played a central role in the development of advanced vehicle technology, hosting a year-long U.S. DOT pilot project involving testing of 3,000 vehicles equipped with connected-vehicle technology.