M City Becomes Autonomous Driving Central
The University of Michigan announced the opening of their simulated city on its campus earlier this week. The goal of the “city” is to test autonomous vehicles without having to do so on existing roadways, avoiding potential collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians. The facility is referred to as M City.
According to the head of the Transportation Research Institute, Peter Seatman,
“We had the faculty here at the University design the fully evolved future,” “After all, we’re replacing humans with machines and those machines need to be able to operate in a full, rich environment.”
The investment into the facility is in response to the continued development of self-driving vehicles by auto manufacturers. M City has been constructed to reflect an urban metropolis, inclusive of street scapes, traffic jams, and pedestrians. The facility includes angled intersections, a bridge, tunnel, gravel roads and even a four lane highway with exit and entrance ramps.
The thinking behind the development of M City revolves around the premise that autonomous technology will be what consumer will want in their vehicles. The goal of M City is to accelerate the deployment of the autonomous technology.
According to the Boston Consulting Group, the market for the autonomous technology will grow to $42 billion by 2015 and by 2035, a quarter of the automobiles purchased by consumers would be self-driving. The consulting group also suggested that by 2017, vehicles will be available that will operate in the auto-pilot mode, change lanes automatically and park themselves. Although some of these features are available currently, they will become more mainstream in a short period.
M City Testing Ground For Auto Manufacturers
As far as M City goes, Ford Motor Company is testing a driver less Fusion hybrid. Prior to M City, autonomous vehicles have been tested on public roads. Most recently, Google’s autonomous testing vehicle was rear-ended by another vehicle while being tested. The M City facility provides automakers an alternative to public roadways. Automotive manufacturers can test their vehicles in a controlled environment at M City. Once the technology is perfected, it can be tested on the nearby roads of Ann Arbor which currently is home to more than 3,000 connected vehicles.
Technology is not going away according to Young Drivers of Canada. The goal is to ensure integration of that technology is safe for drivers and those who share the road including pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles. Young Drivers will continue to teach its students the skills to drive to survive!