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Howes: Michigan faces competition in race to develop self-driving cars

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says Ford could stand to refresh its model lineup, and should invest more in connected vehicles.
Ford Motor Company
Ford autonomous test vehicle


In the race to develop self-driving technology, Michigan and Silicon Valley are not the only games in town.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes is just back from Pittsburgh, where he got to take a look at what they’re working on down in Steel City.

He told us he got to meet with some people from Carnegie Mellon and some suppliers who are working on an automated system for autonomous vehicles.

With all the talk of which region is leading the race for autonomous vehicle development, Howes asked us to keep this in mind:

“There’s no company or there’s no geographic place in the United States, let alone the rest of the world, that is going to be the epicenter for these developments of these technologies, at least not in the near-term future.”

Rather, he said we’ll likely see different regions playing to their strengths in different areas of development. Pittsburgh, for example, has a leg up on the robotics and automation side of things, which has drawn companies like Uber to do more testing in the city.

“One of the things that I’ve come to appreciate is that there are areas of expertise in this race, and I think you’re going to see multiple places,” he said. “In the United States, the states that have the most test beds and I think you would associate with the most corporate and industrial expertise are Michigan and California. Detroit and Silicon Valley.”

Listen to our conversation above for more.

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