Members of congress from the state of Michigan have formally requested a $200-million budget for testing connected- and autonomous-vehicle technologies at the state’s ten designated proving grounds.
Senators Gary Peters (D) and Debbie Stabenow (D), along with Representatives Fred Upton (R) and Debbie Dingell (D), wrote the federal Department of Transportation, and Office of Budget and Management, last Thursday. According to The Detroit News, the bipartisan group of congress members asked that US President Donald Trump support autonomous-vehicle research in his 2018 budget proposal.
“Identifying and selecting [Michigan’s ten] initial proving grounds was a crucial first step, but USDOT must now work quickly to ensure that testing and evaluation at these facilities can begin as soon as possible,” they wrote. “Technology in this area is changing rapidly, and only through thorough testing can we both encourage innovation and assure public confidence in these revolutionary technologies.”
Peters, Stabenow, Upton, and Dingell went on to write that “ensuring that American innovators can safely develop and implement this technology will not only save lives but also solidify our nation’s position as the world leader in the future of mobility.”
The Detroit News reports that the $200-million budget, if granted, would be given to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which would perform testing of connected- and autonomous-vehicle technologies and report best practices. One of the ten proving grounds identified by the state of Michigan is the American Center for Mobility at the Willow Run site in Ypsilanti Township, where bomber planes were built throughout World War II in a factory constructed by Henry Ford. John Maddox, CEO at the Center, formerly worked as a Senior Research Engineer at Ford.