Michigan announced Thursday that it’s teaming with tech and auto companies to attempt to retrofit a roughly 40-mile stretch of two roads outside Detroit exclusively for self-driving vehicles.
Michigan’s partners include Ford and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, a company that Alphabet has invested in. Alphabet owns Google (GOOG) and Waymo, one of the companies at the forefront of developing self-driving vehicles.Both Interstate 94 and Michigan Avenue between Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, would be retrofitted to include a dedicated lane for self-driving vehicles. Sensors and cameras added to the roads would help the vehicles better understand their surroundings. Physical barriers may be added as well, which would make it easier for the vehicles to drive safely, as the location of pedestrians and cyclists could be restricted.
Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners has created a subsidiary, Cavnue, which Michigan selected to lead the project. Automakers Ford, GM (GM), BMW, Honda, Toyota and Arrival will advise Cavnue as well as the self-driving companies Argo AI, TuSimple and Waymo.
The leaders of the Michigan project haven’t concluded exactly which infrastructure changes will be made, saying that testing is needed first to determine the details. Jonathan Winer, co-founder of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, told CNN Business that cameras and LIDAR, a popular sensor on autonomous vehicles, could be used.
The project’s exact route also hasn’t been determined yet. Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners would pay the still-to-be-determined initial costs to install the new infrastructure, and Michigan is open to the possibility of paying for maintenance costs if the project moves forward.
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