M City, a 23-acre metropolis just outside of Detroit will open on July 20. The city will allow automakers to test the limits of autonomous vehicles so as to prepare for the immanent driverless future that is expected by 2025.
That’s right. Robot domination is almost near.
M City, a 23-acre metropolis just outside of Detroit will open on July 20, courtesy of the University of Michigan. The city will allow automakers to test the limits of autonomous vehicles so as to prepare for the immanent driverless future that is expected by 2025. By replicating all the unpredictability of a modern city, including traffic jams, pedestrians, cyclists, babies, stray animals, etc, M City will allow car manufacturers and tech companies to conduct research that is relevant to our reality.
"We've been inundated with requests for visits and demonstrations," says Peter Sweatman, the manager of M City, which is a collaboration between the university's Transportation Research Institute, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and major automakers in the region including Ford Motor, General Motors, and Toyota Motor.
Up until now, all tests for autonomous vehicles has been on public roads or private ones. Google’s own autonomous Prius, which features laser radar disks on their roof, are quite common in Silicon Valley. But most other automakers test their cars on old racing tracks to determine how fast their new models are, or whether it is possible to have a semi-autonomous vehicles at all. But in such controlled environments it is impossible to determine if autonomous cars can handle stressful situations.
M City will open in a suburb of Detroit, Ann Arbor, home to some of America’s most famous car manufacturers. The $6.5 million facility will have 40 buildings, a traffic circle, a bridge, a tunnel, gravel roads, tons of obstructed views and angled intersections, and even a four-lane highway complete with entrance and exit ramps, which will help collect data for merging.
“Mechatronic pedestrians” will randomly pop out into traffic, which will provide critical analyses of whether the sensors and automatic brakes will manage to react in time to avoid collision.
Eventually the city will function in all seasons and weather conditions.
As projected currently the market for driverless technology will grow $42 billion annually by 2025. Boston Consulting Group even believes that completely autonomous vehicles will make up a quarter of global auto sales by 2035.