The Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI) has announced what they deem a long-term partnership with the American Center for Mobility (ACM). The partnership is focused on the advancement of connected cars and automated driving. HATCI is one of ACM’s Founder sponsors and has contributed $5 million to support a “collaborative test environment” in Southeast Michigan.
ACM, located at the historic Willow Run site in Ypsilanti Townshin, Michigan, is a non-profit testing, education, and product development facility for future mobility. HATCI was established in 1986 in Ann Arbor, Michigan as Hyundai’s North American design, technology, and engineering division.
ACM wants to create a world-class proving ground where companies can develop future mobility technology. On the whole, the facility will encompass many of the non-profit’s core principles: testing, validation, product development, and education, among other things. In September, our trip to Brussels, Belgium for AutoSens showed the autonomous vehicle and connected car landscapes are rapidly evolving. To balance such an upward trajectory, collaboration remains the central theme of AutoSens; the event gathers hundreds of industry professionals working on automated driving and encourages them to work together.
This recent move by HATCI and ACM further underscores the importance of collaboration in this arena.
“Hyundai’s investment supporting ACM strengthens our long-term commitment to the advancement of safety and mobility through automated vehicle technology,” said Andy Freels, President, HATCI. “Working together with industry, academia, and government provides a collaborative environment to support new and innovative mobility solutions.”
The ACM proving ground and testing facility will concentrate on vehicle connectivity, cybersecurity, and multiple autonomous technologies. According to HATCI and ACM, testing will be provided under “unique and extreme conditions in a repeatable and controlled environment” to improve safety. Testing will cover a number of items related to consumer safety and the autonomous car, like how sensors are developed and how vehicles will communicate with the surrounding infrastructure. Different infrastructure scenarios will be mapped out: rural, urban, residential, highway, overpasses, off-road; each one then studied and analyzed.
The testing environment will also be near HATCI’s headquarters, and the close proximity is expected to benefit Hyundai’s advanced driver-assistance systems. Earlier this year, Hyundai demonstrated their automated technology in Las Vegas.
“We have been working closely with Hyundai and are thrilled they have decided to take the next step with this significant investment to further our collaboration,” said John Maddox, President and CEO, ACM. “The Hyundai team has some unique developments they are working on and we are eager to help them achieve their goals.”
“As a founding member, we will help set the direction for connected and automated vehicle standards, and test advanced technologies in a safe environment for the North American customer,” Freels added.
Hyundai’s contribution brings ACM’s fundraising total to $101 million for the 500-acre testing site at Willow Run. The first phase of construction is nearly done and the facility is set to open in December. Hyundai joins AT&T, Toyota, and Ford as ACM Founders, who announced their support earlier this year. The ACM project is a joint initiative with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, State of Michigan, Michigan Department of Transportation, the University of Michigan, Business Leaders for Michigan, and Ann Arbor Spark.
“Hyundai’s commitment to ACM is another example of its commitment to Michigan, and is a great addition to the other companies already partnering with the American Center for Mobility,” explained Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. “It’s exciting to see the spirit of innovation continue at Willow Run that will help fuel job growth and solidify Michigan as the epicenter of automotive and mobility.”
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.