Innovation

How a Michigan proving ground helps companies collaborate to better the future of transportation

The American Center for Mobility opens in December 2017. Companies like AT&T and Toyota have already seen the value in this facility and what it could bring for autonomous vehicles.

"We're building a world class, large scale proving ground for connected and automated vehicles...the future of transportation," said John Maddox, president and CEO for the American Center for Mobility. Maddox explained how ACM will work with automobile manufacturers and other companies to test autonomous vehicles.

The proving ground will have a representation of US roads, along with a cellular network, and a cloud service, so ACM can model the aspects of a future transportation network, and allow companies to test their products.

"Every vehicle that we drive today has had thousands, probably even millions of hours, either with physical testing or through simulation," he said. "Now we're talking about vehicles that are much more complex."

SEE: Managing vendor relationships: Time commitment, benefits, and pain points (Tech Pro Research)

ACM's first two founders were Toyota and AT&T. Although at first it may seem strange that a cellular network is investing in a vehicle testing facility, he said, the communications sphere is critical for future transportation. According to Maddox, AT&T took this as an opportunity to work with vehicle manufacturers, and also connect with their products.

Maddox called Toyota the "model collaborative company" because the company realized their need for a location to work not only on their own products, but also with other companies so both their products can work together.

"The vehicle has to communicate to other vehicles, to infrastructure, to other locations through cellular and through cloud services," he said. " And [Toyota] sees ACM as a great opportunity to test those connections to those collaborations on a product level."

Also see:

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Image: iStock/manop1984

About Leah Brown

Leah Brown is the Associate Social Media Editor for TechRepublic. She manages and develops social strategies for TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research.

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