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Fiat Chrysler builds $30M autonomous vehicle testing site

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said Sept. 5 that it invested more than $30 million to build a new facility at its Chelsea Proving Grounds site in southeast Michigan, where it will test autonomous vehicles as part of the car company's five-year growth strategy.

The new facility, which began testing programs this month, has an autonomous highway-speed track, a 35-acre safety feature evaluation area and a 6,500-square-feet command center that will house computer equipment related to GPS capability and test vehicle communication. It also features obstacles, tunnels, varying road lighting conditions, and interstate-style exit and entrance ramps.

Fiat Chrysler said the site will help the company assess its vehicles using test protocols from third parties, such the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, U.S. New Car Assessment Program and European New Car Assessment Program.

Earlier this year, the company said it will spend €9 billion on electrification as it seeks to double operating profit by 2022.