(Mirror Daily, United States) – The automaker Ford is using a fake city to test autonomous cars in order to provide themselves limitless time and endless situations for proper practice. Self-driving cars are just four to five years away, and many companies are now in the middle of testing.
It’s highly possible that they will become a common encounter across streets throughout the world. It seems that the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany in particular are looking forward to this development. American automaker, Ford, however, is the first to conduct their testing in a strictly fake city.
Mcity, as it’s called, opened in July of this year as a result of the partnership between the University of Michigan (UM) and Michigan’s Department of Transportation. It has an estimated space of over 425,000 square feet, all littered with roads that are prime for testing. This includes all sorts of possible factors that could influence driving experience.
The fake city has street lights, crosswalks, bike lanes, sidewalks, signs, turns, ramps, roundabouts, and tunnels. All in all, it provides with a wide range of driving experiences that should cover all potential scenarios. Furthermore, it has traffic control devices, and remote controlled street lights.
For example, this will help Ford to test out how their future autonomous car will be handling running a red light. That could not be tested in an actual city without endangering others in traffic.
In essence, Mcity is the perfect place to test out all possible scenarios, with none of the risks of harming pedestrians or other drivers. Everything will be done in a strictly simulated environment, on the university’s campus.
Ford’s Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle has already started testing out the streets. It boasts an array of sensors, radars, and can also generate real-time 3D images of its surroundings. It’s an exceptional function that could potentially be life saving depending on its capabilities. Every dent in the road will be spotted well ahead, and evaded.
According to Ryan Eustice, from UM who is collaborating with Ford in their testing, with the help of Mcity, they can “get a scaling factor”. The engineered driverless vehicles can be tested in all kinds of situations without disrupting traffic. Rare high-risk situations may also be investigated without endangering anyone.
Ford stated that this will help their company in developing these driverless vehicles much faster. They will not need permissions for trials on public roads, and they will be able to assure their future clients that there’s nothing their autonomous car can’t handle. It has likely been tested for everything.