By creating a dummy city, University of Michigan provided researchers with a great proving ground where many car technologies can be tested. The installation on 32 acres has all the classic creations you could find in a city – all with dummy cardboard buildings, intersections, awesome walkways and roundabouts. Clearly, the city, called the Mcity, is perfect for testing autonomous car technologies and the first car manufacturer to test an autonomous vehicle there was Ford. Bringing their Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous research vehicle (apparently better than this one), Ford started using all features of the city in quite interesting way in order to update and improve the automotive drive.
“Testing Ford’s autonomous vehicle fleet at Mcity provides another challenging, yet safe, urban environment to repeatedly check and hone these new technologies,” Raj Nair, vice president of Global Product Development at Ford, said in a statement. “This is an important step in making millions of people’s lives better and improving their mobility.”
The testing facility, opened in July this year, was created thanks to a $10 million investment. A number of Ford Fusion Hybrids roam the streets of Mcity and all of them are subjected to various tests such as running a red light and other hazardous scenarios which cannot be tested in the real world.
“Mcity offers a unique, real-world test environment that will help Ford accelerate development of its autonomous technology while building on its existing research collaboration with University of Michigan,” said Peter Sweatman, director of the Mobility Transformation Center.
All in all, Mcity is definitely only a small part of the whole autonomous drive industry that is starting to take shape. We believe the car world will be a whole lot different in the next ten years or so.