Driverless cars now have their own town. The University of Michigan has opened up Mcity, a 32-acre fake town in Ann Arbor made solely for testing self-driving cars. The driverless car test range, part of the University of Michigan's Mobility Transformation Center that was founded in 2013, is the first of its kind. Mcity is made possible thanks to investment totaling $10 million from Ford, GM, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Delphi, State Farm, and Michigan's Department of Transportation.
The facility is designed to test the ability of driverless vehicles in detecting other cars, navigating in an urban environment and most importantly, avoiding people. This is why the town is filled with everything you'd expect; buildings, roads, sidewalks, traffic signs, a four-lane highway, and moving robotic human dummies. Some traffic signs have even been covered with graffiti to make the environment more realistic. The hope is that Mcity will help pave the way for automated vehicles to drive on the streets of Ann Arbor by 2021.
Before Mcity opened, the range was already receiving tons of requests for demonstrations and visits, according to Bloomberg. Automakers view Mcity as an exciting way to test their self-driving cars alongside competitors, which is expected to quicken the adoption of technological standards.
Mcity comes at a time when automakers and technology innovators are pushing to have driverless cars meet safety and legal requirements. We've noted the automotive industry is making strides in developing a hacker-proof way for self-driving cars to communicate.
Watch some driverless cars zip around Mcity below.