State to develop autonomous vehicle corridor between Ann Arbor, Detroit

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    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday unveiled an initiative to create a 40-mile corridor for autonomous car travel between Ann Arbor and downtown Detroit, as a first step toward improving accessible transportation across the state.

    The Michigan-based Cavnue, a subsidiary of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP), will be leading the project in partnership with the state of Michigan. Testing the viability of the corridor will take approximately 24 months, after which construction will begin.

    “The action we’re taking today is good for our families, our businesses, and our economy as a whole,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Here in Michigan, the state that put the world on wheels, we are taking the initial steps to build the infrastructure to help us test and deploy the cars of the future. As we rebuild our roads to ensure every Michigander can drive to work and drop their kids at school safely, we will also continue working to build smart infrastructure to help prepare us for the roads of tomorrow.”

    Cavnue will work with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and other project partners like the Ford Motor Company to test the corridor’s viability.

    “This project, and the decision by Cavnue and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners to invest here, continues to reinforce that the future of mobility will be designed and built in Detroit and Southeast Michigan,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

    Other public officials including U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans also had words of praise for the effort.

    “This announcement is a major step forward towards ensuring Michigan continues to be the center of self-driving car research and development,” Peters said in the joint press release. “I’m going to continue working at the federal level to develop a federal framework for the safe deployment of these revolutionary – and live-saving – technologies.”

    Laina G. Stebbins
    Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, immigration and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).