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A Ford Fusion equipped with Level 4 Autonomous controls maneuvers at the Mcity Test Facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Photo: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Michigan’s term-limited governor, Rick Snyder, has negotiated AV research partnerships with the governments of four countries—China, the U.K., the Netherlands and Australia—and two key auto-making regions in Canada and Europe.

Why it matters: Snyder wants to position Michigan as the convening authority when it comes to harmonizing global standards for self-driving cars. By luring foreign entities to conduct and share research in Michigan he's pushing back against the notion that California is the epicenter of autonomous vehicle development.

"The more we can come up with common standards between different parts of the world, and share data on what’s improving safety... it will cause adoption of autonomous vehicles to go faster and better."
— Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

The details: The agreements to collaborate on automotive research are intended to accelerate the commercialization of new mobility technologies and harmonize global policies, regulations and standards.

  • Simply using the same testing protocols will make it easier to learn from one another, Snyder told me.
  • While each country is unique—China's roads have more bikes and U.K. cars drive on the left side of the road—sharing lessons and best practices from diverse environments will lead to consistent safety standards around the world, he said.

Background: Michigan, specifically Detroit, is the traditional home of the U.S. auto industry, but with the advent of autonomous driving technology, the center of gravity appears to have shifted to Silicon Valley.

  • Michigan has aggressively fought back against that perception, with new initiatives like Planet M, a state-run organization that woos mobility startups, investors and research pilots by connecting them to the state's existing automotive ecosystem.
  • The state is also home to some of the leading test facilities for autonomous vehicles, including the sprawling American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti and MCity on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor.
  • There's an emerging mobility research corridor between Ann Arbor and Detroit, which includes the future headquarters of Ford's autonomous vehicles division in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood.

The bottom line: By inviting other countries to test their AVs in Michigan, share research and sculpt policies, Michigan aims to assert itself as the leader in the future of transportation.

Go deeper: AVs need a common language to tell us what they're doing (John Shutko —Axios Expert Voices)

Go deeper

10 mins ago - Sports

China pulls Celtics games after Enes Kanter criticizes Xi Jinping

Celtics center Enes Kanter. Photo: Jim Michaud/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

China will no longer stream Boston Celtics games after center Enes Kanter called Chinese President Xi Jinping a "brutal dictator" in a social media post over his government's repressive policies in Tibet, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: Kanter's criticism of Beijing has sparked another round of trouble for the NBA in China, one of its largest and most restrictive markets.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump's new venture could be peak SPAC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Former President Trump last night announced plans to launch a digital media network called "Truth Social," and said it would go public via a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition (Nasdaq: DWAC).

What to know: So far, this is a joke. The press release didn't contain even basic information, such as the new company's CEO. In fact, the only execs mentioned are Trump (as chairman) and veteran TV producer Scott St. John as head of a subscription streaming service.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Tesla is outrunning the supply chain crunch

Expand chart
Data: FactSet and company release; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Tesla, citing a "structural shift" in demand for electric vehicles, reported its highest-ever quarterly profit of $1.6 billion and $13.8 billion in revenues despite supply chain problems.

The big picture: The company's third-quarter report says the chip shortage, port congestion and other woes have affected its factories but argues that "flexibility" and "ingenuity" are a counterweight.