40 Miles Of Highway Turned Into Testing Ground For Self-Driving Cars In Michigan
The future is here, and it’s Google-funded.
The state of Michigan in the United States has unveiled its plans to begin testing self-driving cars as part of its long-term initiative to improve public transport over the coming years.
Thanks to a Google-funded startup called Cavnue, a subsidiary of the Alphabet’s Sidewalk Infrastructure Partner, the new company won the contract to move from their lab-based automated vehicle testing to actual roads serving real people within the next two years.
The aim is to have a 40-mile Michigan interstate stretch transformed into a fully working, self-driving car corridor. The transportation will link Detroit and Ann Arbor via a connected highway that can safely get people from one end to the other without the need for even a single driver.
It’s not yet clear how much money is being pumped into the project, but what is known is that several companies that specialise in self-driving technology are on board to consult and aid its success.
It’s also important to note that, despite the futuristic sci-fi nature of it all, autonomous vehicles have been tested for some time in other states such as California, but this is by far the biggest, most ambitious attempt to created driverless public transport. It’s also the first time public infrastructure has been an active and dedicated participant.
The end goal? To provide a fully functional public transport service in the form of an express bus lane between Interstate 94 and Michigan Ave, which was, as some will know, the first road to connect the two cities in the late 18th Century.
This advanced shuttle service would provide not only a safer way for people to travel, but a quicker and more environmentally friendly one. In addition, it’ll reduce a person’s carbon footprint and improve efficiency of travel times. The initiative will also hope to reduce safety risks, such as collisions, and make life easier for those unable to drive independently or who struggle to navigate busy roads.
‘Just as the interstate highway system shaped transportation in the 20th Century, the Project can shape that of the 21st Century, while also seeking solutions that ‘future-proof’ new infrastructure,’ commented Cavnue.
The positivity around the scheme was also echoed by Michigan’s Mayor Mike Duggan, citing how crucial the move is for the city and its surroundings. ‘This project, and the decision by Cavnue and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners to invest here, continues to reinforce that the future of mobility will be designed and built in Detroit and Southeast Michigan,’ he told Michigan Business.
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