The University of Michigan has begun construction of the US$75m Ford Robotics Building on its Ann Arbor campus.

Due open in 2020, the 140,000 sq ft, four floor complex will house classrooms, offices, an open collaboration area and lab space for a variety of robotic technology.

Ford will lease the fourth floor for robotics research and engineering in collaboration with the university and other industry players. The arrangement is expected to help expand the automaker's research into robotics, including autonomous vehicles.

Ford research and advanced engineering head and chief technology officer, Ken Washington, said: "With the strength of the University of Michigan - including Mcity and the new robotics building, the American Centre for Mobility in Ypsilanti, our world headquarters and engineering campus in Dearborn, and our growing presence in Detroit - southeastern Michigan is fast becoming a corridor of mobility innovation unlike you'll find anywhere else in the world.".

Around researchers and engineers are expected to be located on the automaker's floor which will create the company's first research lab on a university campus.

The facility is close to Mcity - the school's simulated urban environment offering controlled self driving and connected vehicle testing.

Ford's ongoing collaboration with Michigan Engineering on autonomous vehicle development is the company's largest university research project to date.