Test Track of the Future Opens in Another Step Toward Driverless Cars | Edmunds

Test Track of the Future Opens in Another Step Toward Driverless Cars

ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The University of Michigan on Monday opened MCity, a futuristic test track designed to speed the development of connected and driverless cars.

The 32-acre track looks like a real city. It is equipped with stoplights, street signs, movable buildings and even fake pedestrians and dogs that can be launched in front of self-driving cars.

The idea is to figure out how driverless cars will work in the real world.

Researchers say there is nothing like it currently set up by manufacturers and suppliers.

U-M calls it "the world's first controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies that will lead the way to mass-market driverless cars."

Even minor details, such as road signs defaced by graffiti and faded lane markings are part of the test track.

The types of technologies to be tested here include vehicles talking to other vehicles or the infrastructure and various levels of automation, all the way up to fully autonomous cars.

In the meantime, Google is testing its fleet of autonomous vehicles on public roads in California and Texas.

Auto supplier Delphi completed a nationwide road test of its self-driving Audi SQ5 prototype this spring, while various automakers, including Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan are working to bring self-driving cars to market.

Edmunds says: Driverless cars take another step toward reality with the opening of this test track that's calculated to make Michigan one of the epicenters for the development of connected and autonomous vehicles.

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