Visiting MCity

While we were visiting Detroit, the A2 Mobility Tech Meetup and the Detroit Autonomous Vehicle Meetup arranged for a tour of MCity with James Sayer, the creator of the facility and the director of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

MCity is an automotive testing facility designed for self-driving vehicles — the very first of what Sayer says are now dozens of such facilities around the world.

Sayer led a walking tour of the facility and pointed out many of the test features.

The facility packs a lot into a small geographic footprint.

There are dozens of different traffic light configurations, between the various ways traffic lights can be hung or installed and the different types of lights and luminance available.

There are also several blocks of false storefronts, complete with mailboxes, fire hydrants, and other landmarks.

Some of the stoplights include vehicle-to-infrastructure communications equipment.

The facility even includes tree canopies, manhole covers, and a highway section.

Here’s a full map of the facility, from the university’s website.

We also say the Navya autonomous shuttles that will begin circling the campus in the spring. As Sayer described it, these will be Level 3 shuttles, following a fixed route, with conductors onboard. If the shuttle encounters any unexpected obstacles, the conductor will take manual control, but otherwise the shuttles will operate autonomously.

Pretty cool place, and thanks to Jim Sayer and the University of Michigan and the Meetup groups for the tour!

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