University of Michigan – Ford Motor Company Robotics Building

  • area / size 137,000 sqft
  • Completed 2021
  • HED designed the innovative Ford Motor Company Robotics Building at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    From idea-sharing and cross-pollination to efficient operations, most research programs benefit from the co-location of affiliated research disciplines. With the new Ford Motor Company Robotics Building, the University of Michigan is taking this idea one (autonomous) step further.

    Designed to meet three critical, overarching objectives—flexibility, collaboration and innovation—the interdisciplinary facility will both accommodate the common needs of each research discipline and seamlessly incorporate spaces crafted to the exact specifications of individual teams: a three-story fly zone for autonomous aerial vehicles. An outdoor obstacle course for walking robots. High-bay garage space for self-driving cars.

    The completed building, now pursuing LEED Silver certification, will not only place the University of Michigan among a select group of universities with a dedicated robotics facility, but also deepen the university’s relationship with Ford. In an unprecedented move, the major automobile manufacturer has plans to lease the facility’s fourth floor, establishing its first research laboratory located on a university campus.

    The future of robotics and autonomous vehicles is wide open; now, with a state-of-the-art facility, world-class faculty and elite student researchers, the University of Michigan is positioned to take the lead.

    Design: HED
    Photography: Tom Harris