U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Representatives Fred Upton and Debbie Dingell called on the Trump Administration to prioritize the development and testing of connected and self-driving vehicles in the President’s proposed budget for 2018.
The Members of Congress sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney and Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao urging them to include $200 million in their 2018 federal budget request for facilities designated by DOT as proving grounds for automated vehicle testing. In January, DOT designated ten sites across the country as national proving grounds, including the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti.
“The auto industry is in the midst of a seismic technological shift that will revolutionize the transportation of people and goods in our lifetime…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,” wrote the Members in the letter. “Identifying and selecting these 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. 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.”
The letter calls for federal funding to help support the development of automated vehicle proving grounds and promote safe testing to validate these self-driving technologies and ensure they are ready for use on American roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 35,000 people are killed on our roads and highways annually. Connected and self-driving vehicle technologies have the potential to reduce accidents and save thousands of lives.
The American Center for Mobility was one of ten sites to earn a federal designation. Famous as the site of the former Willow Run plant which manufactured one B-24 bomber every hour during World War II, the American Center for Mobility will be a world-class connected and automated vehicle proving ground that will keep Michigan and the United States at the forefront of the mobility transformation.