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- April 20, 2017
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When President Donald Trump arrives in Michigan on Wednesday, he’ll find a state eager to cement its role as the heart of the U.S. automobile industry as it heads into its autonomous and connected vehicle revolution.
Trump, in turn, is signaling to the automotive leaders gathering with him for a conversation on jobs and emission standards that he’s elevating mobility as a national business issue.
He’s doing that through his choice of venue: The American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti Township.
The location also is notable, in the months after a contentious election that’s left many people polarized along party lines, for its ability to pull officials in Michigan into bipartisan support as they seek federal funding.
The American Center for Mobility site evolved from a World War II bomber plant to a 5 million-square-foot factory for General Motors, before it was closed, razed and then sold to the state. The property, its remaining structures, and its infrastructure – like freeway access – are beginning a transformation into the country’s first ground-up testing facility for automated and connected vehicles.
While a few other states have testing, “We’re the only one that is purposely designed and constructed and … (will be) operated as a connected and autonomous vehicle proving ground,” John Maddox, CEO of the American Center for Mobility, said early this year.
Construction should start soon, as the ACM lines up private fund