Stabenow, Peters, Dingell Announce $7.5 Million Federal Grant for Michigan’s Mobility Ecosystem

Thursday, September 12, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Gary Peters (MI) and U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-12) today announced a $7.5 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for partnership between the City of Detroit, the State of Michigan, the University of Michigan, and the American Center for Mobility (ACM). The funding will go towards the research, development and testing of self-driving technologies in both the world-class facilities at the University of Michigan’s Mcity, ACM and in the City of Detroit. 


“Michigan continues to pave the way for developing and testing safe autonomous vehicles,” said Senator Stabenow. “This is an important investment that will help Michigan continue its leadership on a global scale.”


“I was proud to help secure this federal grant that will support the groundbreaking work and collaboration taking place in Michigan that will transform the way we get around in the future,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “This investment will help keep Michigan at the forefront of mobility, and ensure our state remains the global leader in developing self-driving innovations and building the vehicles of the future.”


“This critical funding from USDOT is further proof that Michigan continues to be the home of the global auto industry and advanced mobility technologies,” said Representative Dingell. “Michigan’s unique automotive and mobility ecosystem is unparalleled and does not exist elsewhere in the country. Self-driving cars are the future of the auto industry and they represent an opportunity to improve and diversify our economy here in Michigan, while also improving safety. This grant was a success because major stakeholders partnered together under the umbrella of the Michigan Mobility Collaborative to demonstrate our ability to work with together in developing these technologies responsibly and proving they are safe. The American Center for Mobility at Willow Run, the City of Detroit, MDOT, MEDC and their partners in industry deserve credit for their hard work that led to this significant award.  I also want to thank my colleagues Senator Peters and Senator Stabenow for being great partners with me during this effort. As we watch the transportation industry and the auto industry transform into the mobility industry, this grant will go a long way towards creating jobs in Michigan and cementing our role as the global center of these revolutionary technologies.”


Stabenow, Peters, and Dingell supported the Michigan Mobility Collaborative’s grant application along with other members of the Michigan congressional delegation writing a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. The group collaborating in this effort include: the American Center for Mobility, the Michigan Department of Transportation; the cities of Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids; the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute and Mcity; Wayne State University; Deloitte; and Ford Motor Company’s “City: One” program. The Michigan Mobility Collaborative will develop a process to evaluate the safety of automated driving systems from simulation to test tracks to real world testing on Detroit streets. It will also focus on future services and business models around autonomous vehicles that improve the quality of life for the senior population in Detroit and cities across Michigan.


Peters successfully urged the Department of Transportation under the Obama Administration to designate ACM as a premiere center for the safe testing, demonstration and deployment of automated vehicle technology. Stabenow, Peters, and Dingell have worked to raise ACM’s profile as a world-class smart city test center and pushed for the Department of Transportation and other federal agencies to recognize the role ACM plays in promoting the collaboration needed to develop connected and autonomous vehicles, and smart city solutions. Stabenow, Peters, and Dingell worked together to help secure $100 million in funding from Congress for AV research and development including $60 million for R&D projects – with $20 million specifically set aside for previously designated proving grounds including ACM. That funding source made the grant announced today possible.


“This award from USDOT is another affirmation of Detroit and Southeast Michigan's leadership in the future of mobility,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “We are eager to begin this effort with our partners at the University of Michigan, American Center for Mobility, and Ford Motor Company.”


“This is great news for our auto industry, our families, and our economy as a whole,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Michigan is the state that put the world on wheels, and if we’re going help our auto industry compete, we must work to ensure we can develop, test, and deploy autonomous vehicles right here at home. This funding will help us do just that and solidify Michigan as a world leader in mobility.”


“The American Center for Mobility is proud to combine efforts within our regional ecosystem,” said Michael Noblett, CEO of the American Center for Mobility. “We aspire to continually support and work with industry, government and academic leaders to advance the innovation of mobility technologies and provide a safe place to conduct this type of cutting-edge research and development testing for connected and autonomous vehicles.”


“Ford created City:One Challenges to identify and suggest innovative solutions to transportation problems by working closely with cities, residents, and businesses,” said Brett Wheatley, Vice President of Mobility Marketing and Growth, Ford Motor Company. “This will support our City:One framework as part of the Automated Driving Systems Grant in Detroit and continue to put residents at the center of mobility innovation.”


“Researchers across the University of Michigan are partnering with government and industry to develop and integrate new vehicle technology that helps reduce traffic crashes, decrease fuel consumption, cut emissions and expand accessibility to transportation,” said Rebecca Cunningham, interim vice president for research at U-M. “This project, as part of the university’s growing engagement in Detroit, will help define the future of mobility in the city, especially for its senior population.”


The American Center for Mobility (ACM) is a smart city test center focused on the advanced and scientific research, testing, validation and self-certification of connected and automated vehicles and other mobility technologies at the more than 500-acre historic Willow Run site in Ypsilanti Township in Southeast Michigan.


Detroit continues to attract forward-looking mobility technology investment. This collaborative grant effort was led by the Mayor’s Office of Mobility Innovation, builds on the City’s initiatives to support implementation of autonomous vehicles and new mobility services, including a partnership with Lyft and the integration of scooters. U.S. Department of Transportation joins a number of entities and organizations that have selected Detroit over the last year. This includes Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s newest manufacturing plant, Waymo’s factory to manufacture Level 4 automated vehicles and Ford’s plan to build a Corktown Campus for 5,000 employees in the automakers autonomous and electric divisions.