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University of Michigan Names Ford Motor Company Robotics Building

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Ford Motor Company Robotics Building

The University of Michigan has named its new four-story, 140,000-square-foot robotics facility the Ford Motor Company Robotics Building as the result of the Detroit-based automaker’s $15 million donation. The building, which is estimated to cost $75 million, is anticipated to open in late 2019; this is ahead of the previously announced winter 2020 deadline, with Ford’s donation expediting the process.

“At Ford, we have a robust plan to lead in autonomy, and this investment accelerates our work by providing dedicated space for robotics research on the U-M campus,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president, Ford Product Development, and chief technical officer.

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“Ford’s co-location on the Ann Arbor campus will only enhance the extraordinary pipeline of talent,” said Ken Washington, vice president of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “Our investment will also enhance our already strong collaboration in autonomy and robotics by establishing an enduring footprint to propel our research partnership forward. Together, we will continue our leadership in advancing mobility.”

The decision to name the Ford Motor Company Robotics Building as such was approved on Thursday by the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents upon the approval of a proposal by Ford to lease the fourth-floor laboratory for the purposes of co-locating more than 100 engineers and researchers. The move was originally announced in September of last year.

Additionally, the building will house classrooms, offices, lab space, a three-story fly zone for autonomous aerial vehicles, high-bay garage space for autonomous vehicles, and an outdoor obstacle course for walking robots.

The Ford Motor Company Robotics Building will stand a half-mile away from Mcity, where Ford has tested the mettle of its Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Development Vehicles.

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