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Ford, Google are founding partners in Michigan Central Innovation District

The 30-acre campus, which includes the historic Michigan Central train station, will serve as a hotbed for mobility technology development.

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Detroit's historic Michigan Central Station will serve as the centerpiece of a whole mobility innovation district.
grandriver via GettyImages.com

A few years ago, Ford stepped in to save the historic Michigan Central Station from destruction, with the idea that it could serve as a hub for a burgeoning mobility industry in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. Now, according to Ford, those plans have started to bear fruit because it just announced Google as its first corporate partner in the Michigan Central Innovation District.

(Using Jesse from 'The Fast and the Furious' voice) This is what it could look like.

Ford

If all that sounds like a lot of jargon bordering on technobabble, you're not alone, but it's a lot more simple than it sounds. The area surrounding Michigan Central Station will have special permissions from the city and state to help speed the development of new mobility solutions, be they first-mile-last-mile scooters or autonomous vehicles. It also groups these companies near one another, which might help facilitate cooperation and partnership. 

Google's role in the Michigan Central project – at least initially – is to 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 programs 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 first buildings in the Michigan Central Innovation District are set to open this summer, while the historic train station itself has a tentative opening date of sometime in 2023.

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