The research environment in the automotive industry changed recently with the official opening of Mcity, which is believed to be the first facility especially designed for testing connected and automated vehicles. Mcity was developed by the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Mcity’s 32 acres were designed to provide researchers with a controlled, yet realistic environment to test connected and automated vehicles. The facility includes many of the obstacles that vehicles would encounter in today’s cities and suburbs. The facility’s network of roads includes traffic signals, pedestrian walkways, bridges, and railway crossings. Movable building facades can be moved throughout the facility for evaluating the effects of various materials and geometries on vehicle sensor performance. And, instrumentation placed throughout the facility will allow researchers to collect vehicular data using a fiber optic network and a real-time kinematic positioning system.

About $10 million have been invested thus far in Mcity with funding coming from a new intersection of partners in the automotive and technology industries, as well as government agencies. Beyond the technical challenges of automated vehicles that Mcity will help address, the MTC also hopes to address a range of other issues, including legal, economic and social implications of connected and automated vehicles. More info on the MTC and MCity may be found on the MTC website.