Mcity: Simulation Environment for Autonomous Vehicles

Mcity Simulation Environment for Autonomous Vehicles University of Michigan has opened a $10 million testing center to promote the development of autonomous and connected vehicles. The 32 acre site opened this past Monday as a result of a partnership between the university, state, and federal government. The reality of implementing driverless vehicles is among the many reasons to evaluate your Champaign IL Auto Insurance policy.

Mcity is one of the most advanced driverless testing facilities in the world, even surpassing Japan and Sweden’s practice centers. The “city” contains multiple road types, roundabouts, intersections, a railroad crossing, tunnels, traffic lights, construction obstacles, and even signs obstructed by graffiti. What’s more, fake pedestrians and moving building facades are used to simulate unexpected obstacles. The purpose of these features is to expose the vehicles to real life circumstances of urban living and promote safe navigation.

Mcity has approximately 3,000 vehicles that have been designed for vehicle-to-vehicle communication, which allows the cars to interact with each other while on the road to improve traffic safety. While faded road signs and extreme weather can affect the performance of these vehicles, this controlled environment is proving to be the most feasible testing option. Raj Rajkumar of Carnegie Mellon University and software developer for autonomous vehicles stated “To me, the special cases-bad lighting conditions, road conditions, bad weather conditions-are the things we really need to work on. Testing at a course like this is how we make these things more reliable.”

The joint partnership of government systems and competitors in the auto market to collaborate for traffic safety is paramount to Mcity’s success. Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, stated “What is really promising is that many are fierce competitors working side by side to figure out this mobility change for the future. At the end of the day, there’s still 33,000 Americans–motorists–that lost their lives last year on highways. The future of automated/connected vehicles holds the promise to drive those numbers down significantly…This is the facility that’s gonna help us get there.”

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