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Posts Tagged ‘autonomous vehicle testing’

Deal to Make Arsenal of Democracy the Vanguard of Autonomy Complete

Former Willow Run plant site will used to develop autonomous vehicles.

by on Nov.07, 2016

A rendering shows part of the planned layout for the new American Center for Mobility.

A 300-acre portion of Michigan’s historic manufacturing past is taking another step toward the auto industry’s technological future.

The Willow Run Arsenal of Democracy Landholdings Limited Partnership just completed the $1.2 million purchase of the former Willow Run Assembly Plant near Detroit from RACER Properties LLC, which will allow for the construction of the autonomous testing and development facility of future mobility named the American Center for Mobility.

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The site churned out thousands of bombers during World War II as a key component of the Arsenal of Democracy is now part of an $80 million investment to bring viable autonomous vehicles to the U.S., starting with the use of this site as a testing facility starting in 2018. (more…)

The Old Arsenal of Democracy Could Be Reborn for the Autonomous Era

Willow Run bomber plant to be reborn as a self-driving test center.

by on Jul.25, 2016

A rendering shows part of the planned layout for the new American Center for Mobility.

It served as a key part of the Arsenal of Democracy during World War II, but the site of the old Willow Run Assembly Plant, just outside Detroit, could come back to life as part of the auto industry’s future.

The newly established American Center for Mobility aims to transform more than 300 acres of the tract into the country’s largest test center dedicated to the development of autonomous vehicles. Until now, most of the research on self-driving cars has taken place in California and other warm-weather states. The ACM would allow automakers and suppliers to test their technology in a broader range of climactic conditions.

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A number of steps have to fall in place before the project can come together – with a goal set to begin testing at the suburban site sometime in 2018. But one key move was approved last week when the Michigan Economic Development Corp. approved the purchase of the property for $1.2 million.


Automakers Can’t Sacrifice Safety in Rush to Autonomous Driving, Warns Transportation Sec. Foxx

“People who start a trip” should “finish it.”

by on Jul.20, 2016

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said safety must be the top concern when it comes to the development of autonomous vehicles.

Safety, rather than the rush to be first to market, must be fundamental to the development of autonomous vehicle technology, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The government will move ahead with plans to release new guidelines covering the development of self-driving vehicles later this summer, Foxx said during a speech in San Francisco. But regulators are clearly keeping in mind the series of collisions that have involved Google autonomous vehicle prototypes and the May 9 fatal crash of a Tesla Model S being driven in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode.

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“We want people who start a trip to finish it,” Foxx said. And while “Autonomous doesn’t mean perfect,” he cautioned that, “We need industry to take the safety aspects of this very seriously.” (more…)

Watchdog Clamors for Controls on Google Cars

Test drivers take over for confused cars.

by on Jan.14, 2016

Opponents to Google's plans for a car with no steering wheel, gas pedal or brake pedal claim recent events support their position.

California, which seems to be the location for the largest number of self-driving test vehicles, recently released its proposed rules for autonomous vehicles. Chief among them? Steering wheels and gas and brake pedals.

Not a big deal … unless you’re Google, which wants its vehicles to have nothing more than a big red button to shut the vehicle down.

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For obvious reasons, Google is protesting, calling the move “gravely disappointing,” but the tech giant’s own data is adding fuel to the fire for opponents that the company’s desire for just the red button is enough to keep roads safe. The company said in a recent state-mandated disengagement report that test vehicles turned control over to the test driver more than 270 times. (more…)

Ford First to Test Autonomous Vehicle at New Mcity Proving Grounds

Modified Fusion sedan moves into "advanced engineering" stage.

by on Nov.13, 2015

A fully-autonomous Ford Fusion maneuvers through the new Mcity complix in Ann Arbor, MI.

Ford is moving its autonomous vehicle test program a big step forward – and helping the new Mcity proving grounds get into gear, as well.

The Michigan automaker was the first to officially test a fully self-driving vehicle at the new, 31-acre facility dedicated by the University of Michigan over the summer. The Mcity complex is intended to replicate the terrain and conditions autonomous vehicles will face in real-world situations.

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“Testing Ford’s autonomous vehicle fleet at Mcity provides another challenging, yet safe, urban environment to repeatedly check and hone these new technologies,” explained Raj Nair, Ford group vice president for global product development. “This is an important step in making millions of people’s lives better and improving their mobility.”


Fake City Aims to Bring Autonomous Vehicles to the Real World

Michigan’s MCity meant to simulate – and repeat – potentially deadly driving situations.

by on Jul.20, 2015

An MCity test meant to prevent car-bicycle collisions.

It’s not quite up to Hollywood standards, and no one would confuse it for downtown Ann Arbor, but nobody’s going to be living in MCity, anyway. And those who’ll be working there won’t really care about the fake store fronts and the streets that run nowhere.

The 32-acre complex that has risen out of a grassy field on the back of the University of Michigan’s North Campus was designed for one reason: to “create an accelerated learning environment” that will help transform autonomous driving from a concept to reality, said Peter Sweatman, the head of the university’s Transportation Research Institute.

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While a number of automakers, as well as tech giant Google, are already testing autonomous vehicles on public roads, MCity will allow them “to take the unusual things that happen on the road and repeat them as often as we want,” helping to ensure that those vehicles will be able to deal with the range of challenges human drivers might face at one point or another.


Google’s Autonomous Car Begins Urban Driving

Company moves to next phase of testing: live city traffic.

by on May.15, 2015

A fleet of 25 Google prototype autonomous vehicles will take to the streets of Mountain View, California, this summer for more testing.

That cute little self-driving Google car that looks more like one of the scrubbing bubble mascots than a car is moving from the test track to the real world this summer.

Google announced today that it would begin urban testing on its autonomous vehicles. Unlike the final product, these vehicles will come equipped with steering wheels, brake pedals and gas pedals. The final product is expect to come with just a button allowing the passengers to shut the vehicle off in case of an emergency.

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While the test marks the first time the vehicles will be outside a controlled environment, only the residents of Mountain View, California, need to be concerned about the testing. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Expands California Driverless Car Testing

German maker using naval base to develop technology.

by on Oct.01, 2014

Mercedes secured an autonomous vehicle testing permit in California. It also plans to conduct much of its U.S. testing at a secure facility in southern California.

The Germans are coming! The Germans are coming! Well, actually, they’ve been approved to be here and in California, specifically. Mercedes-Benz is the second automaker – after Audi – to get approved for autonomous vehicle testing in The Golden State.

California has allowed limited use of its roads for automated vehicle testing in recent years, but the laws approved by the state legislature in mid-September were established in 2012 by Gov. Jerry Brown.

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Actually, the maker has been testing on public roads for much of September, but the company now has secured the use of the Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS) in southern California to test much of its future technology. (more…)