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autonomous vehicles seattle washingtonFor more than 10 years, Ford Motor Company has been one of the industry leaders in autonomous vehicle innovation. So it comes as no surprise that Ford announced a collaboration with the University of Michigan to further research and development of new autonomy technology.

This first-ever collaboration will eventually lead to a new robotics lab opening in 2020 on the Ann Arbor campus, with state-of-the-art technology available. As the first step toward this goal, Ford is moving 12 researchers into the North Campus Research Complex by the end of 2016 so that they can get started.

Ford Motor Company invests in these technologies because this is the path society is heading toward – a world of autonomous cars and less invasive mobility across the globe. The robotics laboratory that is in the works will have plenty of space for machines to drive, walk fly and swim. In addition to labs, the 140,000 square foot building will contain classrooms and offices for both staff and professors, in order further the education of future researchers and innovators.

“Ford engineers and researchers will be working shoulder-to-shoulder with U-M faculty and students to test and learn about autonomous vehicle technology and innovation,” says Mark Fields, Ford’s president and CEO, according to the Ford Motor Company Media Center. “We are aiming to show the world what we can achieve when leaders in business and academia work together to make people’s lives better.”