Earlier this week we told you about Ford’s latest growth plan to investors. It includes a big push to have a fully autonomous self-driving car for ride-sharing ready by 2021.
To help speed up the process, Ford now says it intends to expand its partnership with the University of Michigan.
Ford plans to move on to the campus, essentially, so its team can work side by side with University’s researchers. The pair are teaming up on a new “state-of-the-art” robotics lab at the Ann Arbor campus. Ford says it’s actually the first company to co-locate in an academic building at UM.
Even though the lab won’t be finished until 2020, Ford plans to have over a dozen Ford employed researchers on campus by the end of the year. Once it’s finished, over 100 Ford employs will move into the new lab. They’ll do all kinds of robotics testing. The plan includes space for robots to walk, fly, swim, and – of course – drive. Ford will work with both students and faculty members in its research.
The University is also close to Mcity run by the University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center. It’s where Ford and other automakers are already test driving autonomous vehicles.
The onsite move marks a new step in Ford’s 10 year Innovation Alliance with the University.