- the state of michigan and a startup called cavenue have announced they are going to build an autonomous-vehicle corridor between ann arbor and detroit.
- the self-driving-car roadway will be created with input from automakers including ford, toyota, honda, bmw, and self-driving company waymo.
- the plan is currently in its 24-month phase 1, while the partnership determines the best way to build a road that's future-proof and adheres yet-to-be-determine industry standards.
part of the evolution of self-driving cars is deploying the vehicles in geofenced areas: instead of putting them out into the entirety of the world, they're kept within a geographic area that has been mapped and determined to work well with the capabilities of an autonomous vehicle. some of those areas might be special lanes specifically for vehicles that are driven by robots. michigan is looking into creating such a lane.
the state of michigan and cavenue (a company founded by sidewalk infrastructure partners, which is part of alphabet, the parent company of google) has partnered up to explore building a 40-mile driverless corridor between detroit and ann arbor. the route would be along michigan avenue and i-94 and would connect to detroit metropolitan airport, detroit's central station, and the university of michigan.
michigan and cavenue won't go it alone. they’re partnering with ford, gm, argo ai, bmw, honda, toyota, waymo, and others to make sure what they come up with is standards based. the first vehicles to drive on this corridor will be public transportation and shared-mobility vehicles. later on, freight and personal vehicles will be admitted to the specialized lane.
"the action we're taking today is good for our families, our businesses, and our economy as a whole. here in michigan, the state that put the world on wheels, we are taking the initial steps to build the infrastructure to help us test and deploy the cars of the future," said michigan governor gretchen whitmer.
the team is currently in phase 1 of the project, which will determine the viability of the plan and figure out the best way to implement it. creating a road that's peppered with sensors both above and below ground takes time and requires research to make sure not only that the technology delivers, but that it's also futureproof and can handle michigan summers, winters, and drivers. plus, the teams have to take into account cybersecurity issues and ensuring the system can be replicated elsewhere.
so don't expect to see self-driving shuttles on the road just yet. phase 1 is expected to take approximately two years. after that, then maybe construction will begin on the road. until then, a lot of state agencies and companies will be trying to figure out more about the future of roads.