Ford has become the first car manufacturer to test an autonomous vehicle at Mcity, part of the University of Michigan; the world’s first full-scale simulated real-world urban environment designed to test connected and automated vehicles in an effort to accelerate development time.
Officially opened in July 2015, the Mobility Transformation Center – or Mcity – is a $6.5 million facility outfitted with 40 building facades, five-lane roads and intersections. There are no real pedestrians in Mcity, but mechanical figures pop-up to test autonomous vehicles’ reactions.
Autonomous vehicles are a key part of Ford Smart Mobility – the company’s plan to deliver the next level in connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles. To this end the auto giant is currently extending testing of its Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle and is putting cameras, radar, LiDAR sensors and real-time 3D mapping technology.
“Testing Ford’s autonomous vehicle fleet at Mcity provides another challenging, yet safe, urban environment to repeatedly check and hone these new technologies,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “This is an important step in making millions of people’s lives better and improving their mobility.”
Ford has been testing autonomous vehicles for more than 10 years and is now expanding testing on the diversity of roads and realistic neighborhoods of Mcity to accelerate research of advanced sensing technologies.