YPSILANTI – The American Center for Mobility on Tuesday hosted a press conference and luncheon to officially kick off sales for its Technology Park – what the non-profit organization hopes will become a campus for auto and tech companies from around the world developing autonomous vehicles.
The new smart campus is still very much a concept, but now the process begins on leasing or selling 25,000 to 250,000 square feet of office, research and development and industrial buildings.
The 500-acre smart city test facility, funded to date largely by the state of Michigan and some major auto companies, includes high-speed tracks, overpasses, merge lanes, dirt tracks, essentially duplicating the road conditions autonomous vehicles will use in the future. It is built on the former site where Ford Motor Company built bombers during World War II.
“This American Center for Mobility is proud to continue to build on that legacy (Ford) of innovation by opening the American Center for Mobility Technology Park, where we can enable a new ecosystem of people and companies to build on their ideas, to be inspired and to change the world,” said Mark Chaput, interim Chief Executive Officer. He replaces Intel executive Michael Noblett, who left suddenly in November after only nine months on the job.
Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK, the economic development group for Washtenaw County, who also is on the ACM board, said a national search is underway for Noblett’s replacement.
Krutko, who serves as ACM’s Treasurer, said the smart vehicle test center is attracting a lot of attention from companies interested in the autonomous vehicle segment, in part because of the immense facility that features cold winter testing and also because Southeast Michigan has such a large auto engineering talent pool.
“The Ann Arbor region is a hot bed of mobility innovation, where global leaders like Toyota, Hyundai-Kia and Subaru have located their North American research and development facilities,” Krutko said. “Emerging companies like Navya, May Mobility and Refraction AI are creating and testing new mobility technologies here, too.
“We know that mobility companies from around the world are looking at the region as a destination where they can grow and having the option to be located at ACM is certainly a benefit as a proof point that we are committed to providing what these companies need to be successful.”
To view a video clip from the press conference, click on https://youtu.be/qiUz9Lh6ung