Ford has become the first car maker to begin testing its autonomous vehicles at Mcity – a simulated real-world environment at the University of Michigan, USA.

FORD HAS BEGUN testing its autonomous vehicles at Mcity, a simulated, real-world environment created at the University of Michigan, USA. The 32-acre facility is part of the university’s Mobility Transformation Center.

Just like a real streetscape, Mcity allows for real-world scenarios that are too dangerous to replicate in the real-world, like running a red light. Mcity offers street lights, pedestrian crossings, lane markings, bike lanes, trees, pavements, signs, traffic lights – even construction barriers.

“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.”

Thanks to Mcity, the Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle can be tested over a range of surfaces – concrete, asphalt, simulated brick and dirt – and manoeuvres two-, three- and four-lane roads, as well as ramps, roundabouts and tunnels. The Ford test vehicles merge today’s driver-assist technologies with LiDAR sensors – technology that measures distance using lasers and analyses any reflected light – to generate a real-time 3D map of the surrounding environment (see picture below).

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