Michigan International Speedway (MIS) plays host to two NASCAR races: the 3M Performance 400 Presented by Bondo in the Sprint Cup Series, and the Carfax 250 in the Nationwide Series. Both races are likely to involve a fair number of cars crashing into each other, so it's ronic, then, that the MIS has been selected by the Michigan Department of Transportation as a neutral testing facility for car-to-car and car-to-road technology that are expected to one day prevent cars from crashing.
The testing is a part of Michigan's "Connected Vehicles" program, which is examining the practical use of technologies that allow cars to communicate with one another. The $100 million state program is four years into its five-year term, and needed a site where it could test a variety of makes and a range of components without giving anyone home-field advantage. The Speedway is now that site.
Between automakers and technology suppliers, Connected Vehicles is expected to add up to 40,000 jobs to the Michigan economy, 1,000 in 2009 alone. The larger goal behind it is for Michigan to position itself as a center of automotive technology and research -- and were it to succeed and end up creating cars that can't crash, that would make a nice filler for the vacuum created by the Detroit 3.
[Source: Detroit News | Image: Ronald Martinez/Getty]