Google will join automaker, Ford, in its initiative to turn an abandoned Detroit, Michigan train station into a research facility focused on EV and self-driving vehicles.
Google will provide cloud computing services and workforce training in local high schools and for local job-seekers to make the project benefit the community.
These education programmes will include a Code Next Lab, which will teach students computer science, as well as several partnerships with local nonprofits to offer its Google Career Certificate. The tech giant will open a lab on the 30-acre (12-hectare) site to carry this out.
The high-tech partnership underscores the auto industry’s investment in electric cars and connected, autonomous vehicles, a transition that could reach an inflection point this year.
Again, Detroit and the state of Michigan have agreed to provide infrastructure and other support for the Michigan Central Innovation District that will include the defunct train depot and other nearby buildings in the historic Corktown neighbourhood just outside downtown.
The state will provide over $126,000,000 worth of programming and resources, including infrastructure. Reports also state that Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s office is working to designate a Transportation Innovation Zone in the district, with the goal to make it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to safely start and test projects.
The station, which looms over Corktown, has stood empty since the last train left in 1988 and came to symbolize Detroit’s long decline from America’s manufacturing powerhouse to its biggest municipal bankruptcy.
Google and Ford’s effort to leverage the station is a great move in ensuring innovation in the mobility sector, ultimately reducing pollution, congestion and improving the global living standards. The fully electric and hybrid propulsion systems, more autonomous driving features and increased connectivity in vehicles are a drive to achieving resilience across the globe.