The State of Michigan approved a $17 million loan to build a 311-acre facility for autonomous vehicle testing on Wednesday. The loan will be used to purchase unused land at Willow Run, which used to be owned by General Motors and was a Ford bomber plant in WWII.
It will be one of the largest facilities dedicated to autonomous vehicle testing. The American Center for Mobility (ACM), which will run the facility, plans to add faux houses, traffic lights, and other urban features to simulate real life events.
Funding will be provided by the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF). It has already spent $2.8 million on the ACM, bringing the total to $20 million. The investment group says that the ACM intends to pay back the loans over 30 years, though it didn’t mention how it plans to make money.
Automakers, universities, and other autonomous vehicles firms will be invited to test vehicles in the facility. The University of Michigan already has MCity, an 18-acre site, but may move or merge the facilities in the future, considering the huge size of ACM.