MCity Opens at the University of Michigan

MCity, North Campus

MCity, North Campus

Autonomous cars now have a city all of their own.

The University of Michigan recently opened MCity, the first controlled environment designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies, according to a news release. Mcity was designed and developed by U-M’s interdisciplinary MTC, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

“We believe that this transformation to connected and automated mobility will be a game changer for safety, for efficiency, for energy, and for accessibility,” said Peter Sweatman, director of the U-M Mobility Transformation Center, according to the release. “Our cities will be much better to live in, our suburbs will be much better to live in. These technologies truly open the door to 21st century mobility.”

The 32-acre simulated city features an urban and suburban environment with a network of roads complete with intersections, traffic signs and signals, streetlights, sidewalks, construction obstacles and building facades, according to the release. It can support repeatable, rigorous testing of new autonomous driving technologies.

At MCity, researchers can simulate environments where connected and automated vehicles will face the most challenges, according to the release. They’ll have the opportunity to test a variety of technologies, from connected technologies that enable vehicles to talk to each other or to infrastructure, to full automation.

“There are many challenges ahead as automated vehicles are increasingly deployed on real roadways,” Sweatman said, according to the release. “Mcity is a safe, controlled, and realistic environment where we are going to figure out how the incredible potential of connected and automated vehicles can be realized quickly, efficiently and safely.”

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