Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) and the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) are intending to support the American Center for Mobility (ACM) connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology testbed as a Founder-level sponsor with a US$5m contribution.
As an ACM contributor, Toyota will be a member of a government-industry team that supports the center’s initiatives to create a large-scale test environment in southeast Michigan where various companies can test their CAV technologies. Toyota believes the creation of this unique test environment will help support the development acceleration of innovative CAV technologies, because it allows testing under a safe and controlled environment.
The auto maker also believes this initiative will foster further innovation through collaboration with government and academic partners, and hopes that ACM will serve as a catalyst for safer and more efficient transportation systems, featuring vehicles equipped with advanced CAV technologies. The ACM is part of Michigan’s PlanetM public-private collaborative program, and is being be built at the former Willow Run WW2 bomber factory and General Motors plant, which is located on more than 500 acres in Ypsilanti Township.
“As we move forward with the development of autonomous cars, we must remember that not all test miles are created equal,” said Gill Pratt, CEO of TRI. “The road to creating a car as safe, or safer, than a human driver will require billions of test miles including simulation, real-world driving on public roads, and closed-course testing where we can expose our systems to extreme circumstances and conditions. The new ACM closed-course facility is a significant step forward in this journey, and will accelerate our ability to help prevent crashes and save lives.”
Jeff Makarewicz, group vice president safety and vehicle performance at TMNA’s R&D Center in Ann Arbor, noted, “We are excited to be the first auto maker joining this effort to create a test ground for advanced vehicle technologies in our backyard. Together with industry and government partners, we would like to set a direction to realize connected and automated vehicles to help improve safety and mobility.”
John Maddox, president and CEO of the ACM, commented, “I’m excited about our collaboration with Toyota. This announcement is another example of Toyota’s forward-looking vision and ability to move quickly on developing this potentially beneficial connected and automated technology.”