Automotive and Mobility

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Click for Automotive BrochureAnn Arbor’s deep engineering talent base and innovative history makes it a natural location for automotive R&D, and the future of mobility technology.  This sector includes 100 plus firms and employs 8,200 people  Ann Arbor has been a center for automotive research, design, and component manufacture for many years. Ann Arbor’s automotive expertise includes research and development for the North American market, vehicle emissions testing, advanced battery research, and component manufacture. The largest automotive employers are Faurecia Interior Systems, Toyota Technical Center, and Ford Motor Company. In addition, Hyundai, Subaru, and Mercedes Benz established research divisions in the Ann Arbor area.

Ann Arbor - The Future for Automotive and Mobility Research

Automoted Vehicles MichiganThe future of the automotive technology in Michigan is bright, and the Ann Arbor region continues to be a driver as we move towards a future of mobility.  This includes research and testing to pave the way for Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) technology which will revolutionize the transportation of people and goods over the next 5-10 years.  Ann Arbor is at the center of the Smart Corridor which was created to test ways for vehicles to communicate with the infrastructure and with other vehicles to prevent many crashes. There is also the connected vehicle safety pilot, which equipped thousands of vehicles with (vehicle-to-vehicle) V2V technology, was conducted by University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI)  and funded in large part by U.S. Department of Transportation.


Mcity connected and autonomous vehicle testing siteIn 2015, the University of Michigan opened Mcity, a unique space that allows for research and development of connected and automated vehicle technology.  Occupying 32 acres at the University’s North Campus Research Complex, Mcity simulates the broad range of complexities vehicles encounter in urban and suburban environments. It includes approximately five lane-miles of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings, street lights, and obstacles such as construction barriers.

The American Center for Mobility

Former Willow Run Site MpaThe region is poised to add another significant piece of the mobility landscape, the American Center for Mobility.  The 335-acre Willow Run site, where B-24 bombers were made during World War II in a factory built by Henry Ford, will become a national-scale advanced automotive testing and product development center that can accommodate the broad needs of industry and government, test various weather conditions including ice and snow, and provide room to grow and adapt as technology dictates. 

Willow Run Mobility Testing SiteThe Ypsilanti Township-based connected vehicle research center will be a place where precautionary testing is done before vehicles are deployed on the road and a proving ground for collaborative safety technology demonstrations.  It will also serve as a high technology research and development facility that will allow companies to lease space for office and research use, garages, and other amenities, ultimately expanding the region's business incubation and acceleration capabilities around automotive technology. 

The American Center for Mobility is a joint initiative among the State of Michigan – including the Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan Economic Development Corp., the University of Michigan, Business Leaders for Michigan and Ann Arbor SPARK.  The board of directors is comprised of representatives from U-M, Business Leaders for Michigan and SPARK, which initiated the project and will play a key role in economic development tied to the center. 

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Washtenaw Community College Advanced Transportation Center

The Washtenaw Community College Advanced Transportation Center was established to meet the needs of a future connected world and usher in the changes that will make it happen.


In the News

3 West Coast driverless-vehicle startups move into U-M incubator

Michigan looking to drive automated revolution in auto industry

Toyota invests $22 million into AI research at University of Michigan

Self-driving vehicle test pad at Willow Run inks deal

Toyota Establishes Third U.S. Research Facility

Michigan Strategic Fund approves $2.9M grant for the American Center for Mobility

American Center for Mobility forms board of directors, names CEO

Ann Arbor Named Siemens First Center of Excellence for Intelligent Traffic Technology

GM launches Maven brand, car-sharing in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor SPARK Awarded a Federal Grant to Develop Connected Vehicle Center Plan for Willow Run Site


University of Michigan TechLab

University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute 

University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center

Center for Automotive Research

Techstars Mobility Accelerator

"Michigan Runs on Brainpower"  News Website 

Washtenaw Community College Advanced Transportation Center

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