Toyota became the first automaker to support an autonomous driving test site near Ann Arbor, Mich., when it announced a $5 million investment in the American Center for Mobility on July 31.
Construction of the facility began in January at the Ypsilanti Township site that's 10 miles outside of the Michigan capital near the Willow Run Airport.
With the investment, Toyota joins a public-private partnership that brings together regulators, automotive industry representatives, and others in the nonprofit center that was created in January 2016 with the State of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the University of Michigan, Business Leaders for Michigan and Ann Arbor SPARK.
The facility will create a larger-scale testing environment where automakers can test their connected and automated vehicles technologies in a safe and controlled environment.
"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 Toyota Research Institute. "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."
The center was enabled by state legislation passed in late 2016.