Fiat Chrysler have announced that they intend to invest over $30 million into its Chelsea Proving Grounds in Washtenaw County, to advance the development and testing of autonomous vehicles and advanced safety technologies.
The company’s statement declares testing will commence this month at the revamped facility. The new track comprises an autonomous highway-speed track, a safety-feature evaluation area and a command centre. The proving grounds which have been operational since 1954 cover nearly 4,000 acres presently.
The statement by Chrysler also mentioned that their testing site will be used to simulate real world challenging environments of varied types on the autonomous highway speed track, which will include obstacles, tunnels and different road lighting conditions, and also interstate-style exit and entrance ramps.
This will facilitate evaluation of ‘various levels of autonomy’ of vehicles by Auburn Hills-based FCA US LLC using test protocols from third parties, such as-the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; the U.S. New Car Assessment Program and the European New Car Assessment Program as well.
A spokeswoman revealed that the automaker anticipates new positions to be created as a result of this development, however did not share any specific or detailed news about numbers or the types of positions.
“The all-new facility at Chelsea Proving Grounds will help support and enable the successful rollout of the company’s five-year plan laid out earlier this year,” CEO Mike Manley said in a statement. “Our ability to test for autonomous and advanced safety technologies enables FCA to offer our customers the features they want across our brand portfolio.”
The site comprises a 35-acre safety-feature evaluation area, and a 6,500-square-foot command centre for equipment intended for GPS capabilities and test vehicle communication, FCA divulged further. The centre will also provide ideal testing environment for advanced driver assistance systems like the automatic emergency braking and automated parking technologies and it will also run simulations for automatic electronic brake tests.