The US state of Michigan is set to build dedicated lanes for automated vehicles on a 40-mile (65km) stretch of highway between Detroit and Ann Arbor.

The project aims to link the University of Michigan to Detroit Metropolitan Airport and the city’s downtown using autonomous buses and shuttles along the Interstate 94 (I-94) corridor.

Under the development work, the state officials and some private partners plan to renovate roads to accommodate autonomous vehicle operations.

The advisory board for the project comprises of nine autonomous vehicle and auto companies, including Ford.

The new lanes will be run by the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was quoted by Associated Press as saying: “What may be the world’s most sophisticated roadway will be built here in Michigan to help increase the safety, efficiency, resilience and operations of roadways in the not-so-distant future.”

Most of the project will be financed by companies funded by Google’s parent firm Alphabet, which hopes to generate income by duplicating the technology for other large metro areas.

The team of organisers will conduct a two-year study to determine if existing lanes are to be renovated or if the construction of new lanes is required.

Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners subsidiary Cavnue will lead the study and collect data by running autonomous vehicles with human backup drivers along I-94 and US 12.

The lanes will be used by self-driving buses similar to dedicated rapid transit lanes in other cities. Smaller shuttles, autonomous freight trucks and automated personal vehicles will soon join the autonomous buses.

Linked to a central computer system, the vehicles would share data from sensors along the roadway and other vehicles.

This will allow them to coordinate their speeds and travel faster than regular traffic.

The dedicated lanes will ensure safer operation of autonomous vehicles with human-driven vehicles under all traffic and weather conditions.

Cavnue plans to build a prototype freeway lane at the American Center for Mobility, Michigan.

Once developed, the autonomous driving systems used by all companies will be able to use the lanes, provided they meet the standards.