There's a fake city in Michigan researchers are using to test self-driving cars

The University of Michigan has built a 32-acre city where self-driving cars can be tested out to perfect their skills. 

The simulated city, called M City, aims to replicate real-life scenarios where the vehicle is positioned against unpredictable situations.

Mcity full viewMTCA full view of the 32-acre test city.

To create these instances,  M City features many of the things that a real city would including 40 building facades, a traffic circle, a tunnel, a bridge, a four-lane highway fully equipped with exit ramps, and even a mechanical pedestrian who will step into traffic to test if the car will sense him. 

Smart city technologies related to transportation will also be put to the test at MCity. This includes technologies like vehicles talking to other vehicles and communicating with infrastructure 

MCity MapMTCM City features a lot of infrastructure found in real cities including a roundabout, an underpass, a four-way intersection and a freeway.

“It’s not a test track, it’s a test environment for automated and connected vehicles of the future,” said Peter Sweatman, director of MTC, in video the university posted.

“These technologies truly open the door to 21st century mobility. M City is where all of the main players — the automakers, the suppliers, the traffic sensing, the insurance, communications, big data — this whole new ecosystem, this is where they come to work together,” he said. 

M City IntersectionMTCAn intersection where vehicles will be tested.

Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) partnered with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to build and design the facility. The university has also partnered with 15 of other companies who will each invest $US1 million over a period of three years. 

MCity fake buildings MTCA facade of buildings with a footpath along a road in M City. Smart city technologies are woven into the infrastructure of parts of the city to test how vehicles communicate with roads and other vehicles.

Ford, which is one of MTC’s partners, has already taken its driverless Fusion Hybrid sedan for a test spin in M City and mapped via computer all of the streets and structures, according to a Bloomberg report

M City RoundaboutMTCThe test lab also has a roundabout where cars can perfect intersection safety.

Check out a video of the city from an aerial position below. 

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