Michigan grant to help turn old bomber plant into driverless car test site

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 02: The driverless specially outfitted Audi Q5 sport-utility vehicle is displayed at the Waldorf Astoria following the car's return from a cross country trip, a first for a driverless vehicle, on April 2, 2015 in New York City. Delphi Automotive Plc, a supplier of car electronics, designed the car which covered about 3,500 miles (5,600 kilometers) from San Francisco to the New York City area starting March 22. The car was driverless for all but about 50 miles in a construction zone. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A defunct General Motors plant in Ypsilanti Township that once pumped out bombers is on the road to becoming an autonomous car testing facility.

A state board has approved a nearly $3 million initial grant for the American Center for Mobility. Eric Shreffler of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. says that’s for initial legal work relating to the old GM plant’s environmental history and other consulting before acquiring the property.

The Willow Run plant used to churn out bombers during WWII. The Michigan Strategic Fund board approved the first grant Tuesday, before the center returns to request another $17 million in state aid for the project.

The group seeks $79 million total for the project, which would include federal funds. Shreffler says some private investors are interested.

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