Trump visits autonomous vehicle test facility


President Trump visited a recently opened autonomous vehicle development center yesterday (March 15), as part of a trip to the Detroit area, indicating how important he considers the advanced technology.

The American Center for Mobility at Willow Run in Michigan was designated, by the US Department of Transportation, as a proving ground for the research and development of autonomous vehicles last year.

One of 10 sites to be awarded the status, the 335-acre test facility in Michigan was the first to receive the President as he visited the Detroit region.

Allocating time in his trip to visit the test facility has been commended by the Alliance for Transportation Innovation, who expects the development of self-driving technologies to accelerate under the Trump Administration.

“The President’s visit sends a clear message that the administration is committed to ensuring that America maintains its leadership role in this transformational technology that will save lives and improve accessible mobility options,” said The Alliance for Transportation Innovation president and CEO Paul Brubaker. “These are exciting times and the President is sending a clear signal that demonstrates the seriousness of purpose his administration has regarding the intersection of technology and transportation. We couldn’t be more delighted.”  

The purpose-built facility designed for testing, education and product development of connected and autonomous vehicle technology includes a 4km highway loop, a 700ft curved tunnel, two double overpasses, intersections, roundabouts and a dedicated cellular network provided by communication specialists AT&T.

Being in Michigan, Detroit, the Centre will also benefit from the varying weather conditions experienced in the area, while researchers are able to share knowledge with the University of Michigan’s Mcity facility that is nearby and which runs complementary but different programs.

The American Center for Mobility is a joint initiative with the State of Michigan founded in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the University of Michigan, Business Leaders for Michigan and Ann Arbor SPARK.

During his trip, President Trump announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will re-evaluate the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) standards for the automotive industry. 

Speaking to automotive industry workers, Trump said: “The US automotive industry is a great business, but it has been hurt here in Michigan but it’s not going to be hurt for long. We’re going to work on the CAFE standards, so you can make cars again – we’re going to help the companies and they’re going to help you.”

For a video taken at the American Center for Mobility click here

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About Author


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).