The University of Michigan’s simulated environment for the testing of self-driven cars is now a reality, with the university cutting the ribbon to "Mcity" this week.
First announced in May last year, the US$10 million facility was built with the backing of partners such as General Motors, Ford, Bosch, Honda, Nissan and Toyota.
Mcity is designed with life-sized streets, intersections, traffic signals, signs and buildings, to simulate life in the real world for autonomous cars.
With all of the obstacles of the average city but without John Q. Public in the way, Mcity is designed as a safe proving ground for autonomous tech.
Spanning 32 acres, Mcity has even considered the minor details of the life an autonomous car can expect to encounter - such as faded lane markings and street signs obscured by graffiti.
The university hopes the facility will accelerate the development of autonomous cars, and help speed the development of a self-driven future.
"We believe that this transformation to connected and automated mobility will be a game changer for safety, for efficiency, for energy, and for accessibility," University of Michigan’s Peter Sweatman said.
"Our cities will be much better to live in, our suburbs will be much better to live in. These technologies truly open the door to 21st century mobility."
The university believes Michigan is ideal to host such a facility. As a city with 375 automotive research centres and “the highest concentration of industrial and mechanical engineers in the country”, the struggling state still has much to offer the automotive industry.
Aside from testing their ability to negotiate city streets and highways, the facility will also test the ability of cars to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure. Watch the video below to learn more.
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