Toyota Invests in Connected and Automated Vehicle Tech at Willow Run MI

Toyota Motor North America and the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) announced today their intent to support the American Center for Mobility (ACM) as a Founder-level sponsor with a $5 million contribution.

 As an ACM contributor, Toyota will be a member of a government-industry team which supports ACM initiatives to create a large-scale test environment in Southeast Michigan where various companies can test their Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) technologies.  Toyota believes the creation of this unique test environment will help support the development acceleration of innovative CAV technologies, because it allows technologies testing under a safe and controlled environment.

Toyota believes this initiative will foster further innovation through collaboration with government and academic partners.  Toyota hopes that ACM serves as a catalyst for safer and more efficient transportation solutions with vehicles equipped with advanced CAV technologies.

“We are excited to be the first automaker joining this effort to create a test ground for advanced vehicle technologies in our backyard,” said Jeff Makarewicz, Group Vice President Safety and Vehicle Performance at TMNA Research & Development Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Together with industry and government partners, we would like to set a direction to realize connected and automated vehicles to help improve safety and mobility.”

“As we move forward with the development of autonomous cars, we must remember that not all test miles are created equal,” said Gill Pratt, CEO of Toyota Research Institute. “The road to creating a car as safe, or safer, than a human driver will require billions of test miles including simulation, real-world driving on public roads, and closed-course testing where we can expose our systems to extreme circumstances and conditions. The new ACM closed-course facility is a significant step forward in this journey and will accelerate our ability to help prevent crashes and save lives.”

“I’m excited about our collaboration with Toyota,” said John Maddox, President and CEO of the American Center for Mobility at Willow Run. “Today’s announcement is another example of Toyota’s forward-looking vision and ability to move quickly on developing this potentially beneficial connected and automated technology.”

“Toyota’s long history of research and development in Michigan is impressive, as is their continuing commitment to this state and its people,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “Thanks to Toyota’s collaboration with ACM, Michigan can continue to maintain its momentum as a global leader in the ever-expanding transition from being the automotive capital to being the mobility capital.”

“Toyota deserves our thanks and praise for this significant investment in the American Center for Mobility,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan.  “This is not only an investment in ACM, but is another strong sign that Michigan continues to lead the way in the future of mobility and innovation. Toyota has long been a responsible corporate partner in Michigan and this is yet another example of their commitment to our state and our workers.”

The American Center for Mobility is a non-profit testing, education and product development facility for future mobility, designed to enable safe validation and self-certification of connected and automated vehicle technology, and to accelerate the development of voluntary standards. ACM  is part of the Planet M collaborative that represents Michigan’s unique infrastructure and leading role in transforming how people and goods are transported. Planet M members include public-private partnerships and collaborative programs with the common goal of positively contributing to the reinvention of the transportation industry.