The shuttles ferrying workers onto Foxconn's sprawling new U.S. campus could forego one worker: The driver.
The Taiwan-based electronic manufacturer's plans to use driverless vehicles to move thousands of workers a day at its 22 million-square-foot campus about 30 miles south of Milwaukee could pave new ground for the technology, which promises to reshape transportation in this country.
More than a dozen states are scrambling to get ready for self-driving cars, and while major companies from Google to General Motors are testing such cars, few are in use yet. Foxconn's plans could accelerate Wisconsin's move into self-driving cars and show how existing highways can be modified for autonomous vehicles.
Foxconn Technology Group in July announced plans to construct a $10 billion manufacturing plant to build the liquid crystal displays used in televisions, computer screens and other products, a landmark deal that, with nearly $3 billion in state incentives, also amounted to the largest incentive package for a foreign company in U.S. history.
The company has told Wisconsin officials that it wants roads with technological innovations, including those that can ferry workers and cargo in autonomous vehicles to its facilities east of I-94.
Wisconsin officials previously acknowledged Foxconn’s interest in seeing such lanes on I-94 for driverless vehicles to move supplies between Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport and the factory. The company also envisions the use of such vehicles close to the plant to ease commuting pressures.
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