Ford Accelerates Into the Future & Pledges Millions for Automation

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Thanks to a $5M donation, self-driving Ford trucks and SUVs of the future will one day roam this groundbreaking facility.

It’s impossible to escape innovation. Propellers gave way to jet engines, locomotives to bullet trains, and horse-drawn carriages to gasoline-powered cars. One day cars will drive themselves. But first, we must teach them how to behave in this world of ours.

That’s where the American Center for Mobility (ACM) comes in. The non-profit institution is a testing and product development facility for future mobility. It’s designed to enable safe validation of connected and automated vehicle technology, and accelerate their development. In other words, a miniature city where driverless cars will learn how to drive.


Last week, Ford Motor Co. announced a $5 million contribution to the ACM, which will go towards supporting connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology development. This groundbreaking facility is located at Willow Run in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, not far from Ford HQ in Dearborn.

The ACM is currently in the middle of construction of “Phase 1” of their 500-acre testing site, which according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation is one of ten facility proving grounds in the country. In addition, the contribution puts Ford in the Founder Level of ACM, along with companies like Toyota Motor North America and AT&T.

“We couldn’t be more proud to have Ford Motor Company join the ranks as a Founder. When we first announced our plan to develop the American Center for Mobility, it may have seemed a little ambitious to some,” said John Maddox, president and CEO of ACM. “However, we’re well along in making this a reality as national and global partners continue to support the facility.”


Some of the technology that will be further developed at this facility is already available in Ford vehicles. For example, the 2018 Ford F-150 uses radar, camera and sensor technology for its adaptive cruise control, as well as pedestrian detection technology. This intricate software is able to detect moving objects, but also differentiate between a car or a human.

“This is an investment in the safe, rapid testing and deployment of transformative technology that will help improve peoples’ lives,” said Ken Washington, Vice President, Research and Advanced Engineering and Chief Technology Officer, Ford Motor Company.

The future is here.

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Charles Dean is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Rennlist, among other auto sites.

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