Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is opening a new, state-of-the-art facility at its Chelsea Proving Grounds in Michigan to accelerate its development and testing of autonomous vehicles and advanced safety technologies. Testing programs are slated to begin this month.

The new facility features a 65,000 square-foot command center that houses vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, facility control monitoring, and test vehicle support. It also includes equipment related to GPS capability.

Vehicles will be put through the paces on the dedicated autonomous highway-speed track that provides the opportunity for FCA to develop AV systems under a range of demanding conditions — obstacles, tunnels, diverse lighting, as well as real-world-style highway exit and entrance ramps.

Technicians will also test advanced driver assistance systems and other technologies in the 35-acre safety-feature evaluation area that also accommodates testing of automatic braking and parking technologies.

The new center enables FCA to test various levels of autonomy and evaluate its vehicles using protocols from recognized agencies and experts including the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), NHTSA's U.S. New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), and European New Car Assessment Program (EuroNCAP), plus additional automatic electronic brake test simulations.