Rising on 32 acres on the University of Michigan’s North Campus is Mcity, a network of 4.3 lane-miles of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings, streetlights, and obstacles such as construction barriers. This mini-city is actually a one-of-a-kind facility specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicles.
By connecting to each other and the infrastructure around them via wireless radio devices, connected vehicles can respond quickly to traffic situations: an oncoming curve, another car running a red light, wayward pedestrians, or ice on the road. A city-wide system of these vehicles could dramatically reduce accidents, slash fuel consumption, cut pollution, and improve traffic flow. And they could be driverless.
Mcity is operated by Mobility Transformation Center at U-M, a public-private partnership between the university, a broad array of global companies, government, and academic institutions. MTC’s goal is to develop the foundations for a commercially viable ecosystem of connected and automated vehicles, culminating in a working system of up to 2,000 cars on the streets of Ann Arbor by 2021.