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Ford Built a Simulated City to Test its Robot Cars

While the Google Car is busy getting pulled over for driving too slow in California, Ford is looking to put autonomous cars to the test on some less-populated roads in Michigan. The popular American car company is now the first manufacturer to test autonomous vehicles in MCity, a 32-acre mobility testing site on the University of Michigan campus. Designed in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation, U-M officially unveiled Mcity back in July, and Ford is already putting it to good use.

Ford has been testing autonomous vehicles for more than a decade, despite Google bringing the concept to public attention. Now, Ford’s Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle is set to test its driverless operation package in a simulated urban environment without the threat of injury or damage. Plus, there won’t be any cops to complain when the car drives like a grandma.

The car is equipped with a combination of front-facing cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors, and four LiDAR sensors that create a 3D-map of the car’s surroundings in order to maintain dynamic performance in any situation. Ford introduced the vehicle concept, in a partnership with University of Michigan and State Farm Insurance, in 2013. The technology was created “in an effort to advance sensing systems so these technologies could be integrated into Ford’s next-generation vehicles.”

According to the University of Michigan’s official Mobility Transformation Center website, “Mcity simulates the broad range of complexities vehicles encounter in urban and suburban environments.” That means testing the cars’ ability to handle multiple lanes, traffic signals, bike lanes, intersections, crosswalks, curbs, and everyday obstacles like construction work.

Can’t wait for your driverless car? Let us know in the comments below!

HT: Ford

Featured Image: Ford Media

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