The American Center for Mobility (ACM) has noted clients’ needs for both a dedicated event space and even faster network speeds – and responded without delay.

For all of its 500-plus acres of connected intersections, simulated traffic conditions, and drivable mock-up city streets, ACM’s Ypsilanti Township headquarters was lacking in something. While it provided ample space for the research, development, and testing of the future of mobility, ACM’s clients also needed a place where large groups of customers could gather indoors.

That’s why the organization recently broke ground on the ACM Event Center, an 8,000 sq. ft. space adaptable to a variety of needs.

“This has been in our plans for a while. The event venue is meant to supplement the testing that occurs on site,” says Mark Chaput, ACM’s interim CEO. “It was actually part of the concept of the tech park that was announced in January, but based on the need expressed by our customers, we put it on the fast track ahead of the tech park development.”

The tech park is a certified shovel-ready site, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Site Readiness Program. The ACM Event Center, however, is already in the process of being shoveled. Construction crews broke ground in late February and officials hope to open the event center for guests by June.

That quick turn-around just so happens to line up with this year’s North American International Auto Show. While the event center is not an official venue for the annual auto show, there is an obvious synergy.

“We’d like to host some activities around the time of the auto show. We think we can be a real draw for the region,” Chaput says. “We hope to be open in time to be available by then.”

The ACM Event Center’s current name is intentionally generic to leave open the future possibility of awarding naming rights. The space will be able to accommodate up to 500 guests and will include full audiovisual capabilities, configurable spaces, and a catering prep kitchen. It will allow for product exhibits, launches, and showcases; education, training, and professional development opportunities; corporate events and conferences; and more.

The Event Center is not the only new development coming from ACM. ACM also recently announced that it has extended its partnership with AT&T. The cellular service provider will be the exclusive network provider at ACM’s Smart City Test Center for three more years.

The partnership between the two began with ACM’s founding in 2017, when AT&T built a private 4G/LTE cellular network to serve the 500-acre site. With that collaboration set to expire, the two parties came to a new agreement, extending their exclusive partnership through 2023.

With the new deal comes a new technology. AT&T is building a 5G Sub-6Ghz network at the site. The latest in cellular technology, the 5G Sub-6Ghz network will allow for even faster transfer of data over ACM’s cellular network. Ever more important in the mobility sphere, a faster network allows for autonomous and connected vehicles to better and more quickly communicate with each other. It’s the future of mobility, with vehicles connecting to the infrastructure within which they travel.

Chaput expects a two-month build-out.

“[The network] allows for a higher volume of data and the fastest possible transfer of data,” he says. “We’ll be able to support the real-time sharing of data needs of connected vehicles, and especially our intersection needs.”