MCity - First City In The World Designed To Test Autonomous Vehicles
|   Tuesday, August 11, 2015
The wish of car manufacturers to release autonomous cars that will travel without intervention from the car driver has long passed the point of secrecy. Currently, all cars meet several functions in fully autonomous mode, such as parking or maintaining speed, braking and acceleration on the highways.
However, to create a fully autonomous car a special environment that will repeat the real world, and will not endanger people's lives is needed, as in the case of tests conducted on public roads.


University of Michigan, USA, proposed to create a safe environment for independent automotive testing technologies, and this environment recently was inaugurated. It is called MCity - a town created just for autonomous cars.

The city stretches over 13 hectares (32 acre) and 10 million dollars were invested to test the driverless cars. The project aims to reproduce the modern urban chaos, traffic jams, and unpredictable pedestrians, writes Business Insider.

Well, it is not a city but rather a small town that includes different road types, different road surfaces, different intersections (11 in number), traffic lights, signs, speed bumps, tunnels and even a short highway with entry and exit – everything to simulate a real environment, only that it's improvised and adapted. For example, some signs are painted with graffiti and you can hardly see the road markings in some areas.

Also, MCity has many things that we might find in a normal city: 40 buildings facades, a roundabout, a bridge, and even a pedestrian robot, which is designed to test the capabilities of vehicles to avoid accidents.

Not even the biggest car manufacturers have a city specifically built to test autonomous cars as well as Mcity. The University of Michigan is open to give producers a chance to test their technologies on the MCity territory. However, even if car manufacturers will improve their autonomous cars in such dedicated cities, there is also the problem of legalizing autonomous cars on public roads.

Only in Nevada, USA, autonomous car traffic is allowed, where the first autonomous truck Freightliner Inspiration already runs.
Automotive manufacturers have stated that driverless cars could be put into circulation over the next five years. Autonomous technology market will grow to 42 billion dollars by 2025, according to Boston Consulting Group, reports Bloomberg.

Currently, cars are tested on public roads or on private land. Until now, Google's driverless car registered 1.6 million kilometers on the roads of Silicon Valley, and from last month, on the roads in Austin, Texas.

"There are many challenges ahead as automated vehicles are increasingly deployed on real roadways. 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." stated Peter Sweatman, director of the U-M Mobility Transformation Center.

It seems that we can expect an exciting future in which will see autonomous cars that will reduce the risk of accidents to zero, make traveling more efficient, and in time, we might even see laws that will forbid people to drive cars, because only the human factor will remain as a source of accidents. Who knows?
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