American Center for Mobility holds grand opening and announces new Microsoft partnership


The American Center for Mobility’s (ACM) grand opening ceremony was the setting for the announcement that Microsoft is to be the center’s exclusive data and cloud provider.

Located at the historic Willow Run site in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan – once home to a World War II bomber plant – the ACM opened its doors for testing in December. One of 10 federally designated proving grounds for developing and testing self-driving vehicles, the Center provides a range of real-world environments, among them a 2.5 miles (4km) long highway loop, a 700ft (213m) curved tunnel, two double overpasses, intersections and roundabouts.

The grand opening coincides with the start of ACM’s next phase of construction, which will add an urban intersection by this summer, followed by a series of building facades and additional urbanized infrastructure expected by the end of the year. The expansion project also includes a headquarters and lab with demonstration space.

ACM president and CEO John Maddox announced that Microsoft will provide the center with cloud resources and data infrastructure to advance the testing and development of connected and automated vehicles (CAV), as well as new mobility technologies. In addition to serving as the facility’s exclusive data and cloud provider, Microsoft will also hold a position on ACM’s Industry Advisory Board.

ACM will collaborate with Microsoft to design a cloud-based data management and analytics platform (DMAP) system to collect, store and analyze data from tests conducted at the ACM. The system will be based on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, which offers extensive capabilities for quickly developing and deploying new use cases. Using Azure and the DMAP solution will enable ACM and its partners to accelerate the development of CAV technologies, apps and industry standards, to create a safe environment for testing, validating, and enabling collaboration across all members.

“This important partnership with Microsoft will provide the American Center for Mobility with the proper digital capabilities to help translate testing data into technology innovations that will make transportation safer for all, and fuel further economic growth across the state”, said Michigan governor Rick Snyder.

Microsoft joins a long list of companies supporting ACM, including its founders AT&T, Visteon Corporation, Toyota, Ford and Hyundai America Technical Center Inc., and sponsors Subaru of America Inc. and Adient. The ACM is part of the PlanetM collaboration in Michigan, a partnership of mobility organizations, educational institutions, R&D, and government agencies working together to develop and deploy mobility technologies.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).