While $247,170 is a fraction of the planned cost for a connected-driving technology center on the site of an old Michigan auto plant, it's better than nothing. The US Economic Development Administration will commit nearly a quarter of a million dollars to help redevelop the historic Willow Run factory in Ypsilanti, MI, (about 35 miles west of Detroit) into the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Development Center.

The project will be developed in partnership with Ann Arbor SPARK and is slated to accelerate technology advancements toward self-driving cars and relevant wireless technology, according to the Detroit Free Press. The number of potential new jobs was not disclosed, but the total cost was estimated at about $90 million.

The Feds' involvement comes after a Barclays Capital report said autonomous-driving technology and car-sharing services could spell disaster for new-vehicle sales from US automakers during the next quarter century. Such technology would minimize the need for multi-car families and could cut new-vehicle sales by 40 percent or more, according to the study.

The plant, now owned by the RACER Trust, was originally built by Ford and served as a factory for World War II bombers. General Motors later operated it until it was shut down in late 2010. Willow Run was deemed a Michigan historic site in 1980. Take a look at the EDA's statement on the project here.

Share This Photo X