GM just announced a new technology center in Warren, Michigan, that will focus on self-driving cars. This follows on the heels of GM’s acquisition of Cruise Automation and of GM’s commitment to hire hundreds of self-driving car engineers in Canada.
To me, one of the most exciting elements of this announcement is GM’s plan to build a self-driving vehicle-focused test track.
Test tracks are a major obstacle to autonomous vehicle development in Silicon Valley, because the land is just so expensive, so regulated, and so hard to bundle together into a large parcel.
Google’s test track is a decommissioned air force base in the Central Valley, hours away from the Mountain View campus.
One of the big advantages of vehicle development in the midwest is the relative bounty of cheap, greenfield land.