Uber has announced it is opening an autonomous vehicle research center in the Detroit, Mich. suburb of Wixom this March.

The location is not only close to automotive manufacturers and suppliers along with research universities, the company will be moving into an existing structure instead of building something from the ground up to speed its arrival.

“We will be focused on integrating our technology into automakers’ vehicles,” said Sherif Marakby, Uber vice president of global vehicle development.

“Many of our engineers were coming to Detroit on day trips and visiting and working with companies,” he added. “A lot of the talent actually comes from Detroit. So it just felt like the right thing to do to actually have a place for people to work from.”

In the battle between Silicon Valley and Detroit to become the U.S. leader in driverless car technology, the state of Michigan is fighting hard with legislation allowing self-driving cars, including completely driverless, to operate on public roads anywhere in the state.

Adding some icing on the cake, also now legal in the state are truck platoons and autonomous ride-sharing.

SEE ALSO: Michigan Test Site Awarded Federal Autonomous Car Proving Ground

That’s good news for Uber, since it can test its self-driving cars without the hassles it encountered last month in California when the state shut down a self-driving pilot program in San Francisco.

Michigan’s open arms autonomous car policy also prompted General Motors to quickly announce that it would build the self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle in the state.

Even before the new policy was in effect, Fiat-Chrysler and Google announced they would open a facility in Novi, Mich. to accelerate the development of the autonomous Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan.

To further entice tech and automotive companies, the U.S. Transportation Department gave the nod to Michigan as one of 10 locations in a competition for self-driving car test sites as federal regulators move to implement new guidelines for autonomous cars.

Michigan Live