Driverless cars get a city of their own

The University of Michigan on July 20 opened Mcity, which it described as the world’s first controlled environment designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technology.

Mcity is a 32-acre simulated environment with both urban and suburban areas, including roads with intersections, traffic lights, signs and sidewalks designed to evaluate the capabilities of connected and automated vehicles and systems.

“There are many challenges ahead as automated vehicles are increasingly deployed on real roadways,” said Peter Sweatman, director of the U-M Mobility Transformation Center (MTC). “Mcity is a safe, controlled, and realistic environment where we are going to figure out how the incredible potential of connected and automated vehicles can be realized quickly, efficiently and safely.”

Vehicles that can communicate with other vehicles and the infrastructure as well as cars incorporating increasing levels of automation will be tested in Mcity.

Mcity was developed to simulate the environments where connected and automated vehicles can be most challenged, such as road signs marked with graffiti or faded lane markings.

Mcity is a public-private partnership between University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Transportation.  About $10 million was invested in Mcity between the state and the university. The facility  will be available for use by any organization, but MTC partners and UM faculty and students will be given priority.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.


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