Michigan's trump card for autonomous car testing: potholes
To put it politely, Michigan's harsh weather makes infrastructure like roads difficult to maintain. Frost heaves make old road surfaces crumble. Potholes form easily and grow to frightening sizes. That's part of the reason the decrepit Willow Run site, a former bomber plant and GM transmission factory, is such a strong contender, Bloomberg reports. That site's much-patched tarmac is pictured above.
The other strong candidate is also associated with the military: the former Navy base in Concord, California, near San Francisco. It's currently the home to a facility called GoMentum Station, which we've reported on in relation to Apple's autonomous car program.
Michigan is going all-out to compete for the money, coughing up $20 million to buy the facility from the Old GM holding company that owns it and turning it into a test track facility with authentic crumbled pavement. It also is close to many auto manufacturer testing and engineering facilities, and not just the domestic manufacturers. GoMentum Station, meanwhile, has easy access to Silicon Valley.
Who will take the prize? Bloomberg posits that Michigan's harsh winters and terrible roads might be an unbeatable proposition. Living here and driving on these roads every day, we grudgingly agree.
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