American Center for Mobility opens for CAV testing


The American Center for Mobility (ACM) has opened its state-of-the-art proving grounds for testing, with Visteon and the Toyota Research Institute conducting initial operational trials, and other organizations scheduling for the next few weeks.

Located on the 500-acre (200ha) historic Willow Run bomber factory site in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, ACM is a global center for testing and validation, product development, education and standards work for connected and automated vehicles (CAV) and other technologies. The USDOT-designated proving grounds provides multiple real-world environments, with the ability to test under varied, yet controlled conditions. Its range of driving environments and infrastructure includes a 2.5-mile (4km) highway loop, a 700ft (213m) long curved tunnel, two double overpasses, intersections and roundabouts. Construction on the first phase of the project starting in May, and the next phase will begin in spring 2018 and will feature an urban driving environment, followed by ACM headquarters and a technology park.

Since the summer, ACM has been working with Intertek, its operations and maintenance partner, to make sure the necessary and unique CAV protocols, procedures and operations were created and implemented to support safe testing. While founders AT&T, Visteon, Toyota, Ford and Hyundai America Technical Center have initial priority for testing at the proving grounds, ACM is also available to other companies looking to take advantage of access to automated vehicle proving grounds.

Earlier this week Visteon began testing the implementation of automated highway functionality for its DriveCore autonomous driving platform in challenging conditions – one of southeast Michigan’s first snowfalls. Focus areas for Visteon’s testing and validation at ACM include autonomous driving algorithms; vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology and functionality, integrated with autonomous driving; sensor technology; and security protocols. Toyota engineers were at the site later in the week to begin orientation and driver training. Testing will occur during all four seasons, day and night, in sun, rain, ice and snow. The elements help to create the perfect environment for testing and developing voluntary national standards for mobility technologies before vehicles and other products are deployed on public roads.

“We are excited to be open for testing and to have our founders already leveraging the assets of this facility,” said John Maddox, president and CEO of ACM. “We have been moving rapidly, and a great deal of work has gone into developing this site. Opening our doors is just the beginning as we continue to develop the center into a global hub for CAV and future mobility technologies to put self-driving cars on America’s roads safely.”

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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).