The University of Michigan announced this week that the school is an official partner in a new mobility initiative outlined by the office of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The plan involves developing and implementing a purpose-built corridor for connected and autonomous vehicles in Southeast Michigan. The first phase of the project is a feasibility assessment to test new technology and explore the viability of a self-driving corridor between Detroit and Ann Arbor. Officials say the corridor will run over 40 miles and feature lanes that support transit, shared mobility, and personal vehicles.
“This connected and automated vehicle corridor will be so much more than a road,” explained Alec D. Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and a professor of aerospace engineering. “It will serve as a pathway to sustainability, to safer mobility, and to prosperity for underserved populations and for the state of Michigan as a whole.”
Initial project partners include Ford Motor Company, University of Michigan, U-M Transportation Research Institute, the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation, and the American Center for Mobility. Cavnue, a subsidiary of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, will serve as master developer for phase one of the corridor project. An extensive community outreach plan is also in the works for locations along the corridor. That outreach program will focus on providing better access to transportation to the populations in the immediate area.
“As we take the first steps toward enabling the world’s first corridor-level infrastructure that will support deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles, we have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to advance our state’s technology and the automotive landscape in a way that also improves the quality of life for countless individuals in Michigan,” Whitmer said.
“The effort brings together broad expertise – in technology, infrastructure, policy, community engagement and more, and that’s exactly what it takes to solve complex societal problems,” Gallimore added. “We are proud to be part of it.”
Length of The Assessment Phase
Cavnue will work with MDOT, Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, and Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity along with project partners. The assessment phase is expected to last for two years. “As we get to work to fix our roads today, we are also making sure we are building smart infrastructure to be ready for the roads of tomorrow and to secure Michigan’s position as the state leading this next revolution in transportation,” Whitmer added.