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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
Funding Opportunities Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Ann Arbor SPARK


Ann Arbor, MI

Project Name

Plan for a Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Development Center


Science & Research Park Development Grants

Award Amount


This project will support the development of a Plan for a Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Development Center.  The CAV Center will meet demand for an early stage CAV accelerator and leasable real estate for established companies surrounding a CAV test track.  The CAV Center will leverage the region's one-of-a-kind automotive industry to attract electronics, software, and systems integration firms to test new CAV technologies.  Such a facility will attract innovators from local automotive OEMs, manufacturers, and IT companies, as well as draw in new international business from national and global IT and automotive companies that will benefit from the CAV Center.

Southeast Michigan has been among the regions hardest hit by the recent economic downturn in the U.S. economy.  Consistently, the region’s unemployment rate has hovered two percentage points above the national average and wage growth has been stagnant.

SPARK projects that full build-out of the CAV Center (over 700,000 square feet and over $90 million in construction) will result in significant job creation consistent with global estimates for job creation in the CAV industry.  For example, between 2009 and 2015, U.S. employment related to CAV will have increased 16%, contributing at least 500,000 new jobs, many of which are high-paying engineering, hardware developer, and software developer jobs.  As an additional benefit, according to EDA Regional Cluster data, workers in Southeast Michigan in these industries are earning wages higher than average.  For instance, employees in the automotive industry are earning over $7,000 per year more, while employees in the information technology and analysis industry are earning $5,000 greater than the U.S. average for the industry.