WUOMFM

University of Michigan opens Mcity that will develop automonous vehicles

Jul 20, 2015

Credit University of Michigan

The University of Michigan held an opening ceremony for Mcity, a realistic test environment that will be used to develop autonomous vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles can navigate without human input. 

Mcity is a 32-acre controlled environment that includes intersections, traffic signs, a highway entrance and exit, and construction obstacles.

Jack Hu, interim vice president of research for the University of Michigan, says the development of autonomous vehicles could have broad societal implications. 

Many policy makers attended today's ceremony including Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Gary Peters, US House Representative Debbie Dingell and Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor. 

Peters says autonomous vehicles could saves lives. 

"There are 33,000 American motorists that lost their lives last year on highways," Peter said. "The future of automated, connected vehicles holds the promise to drive down those numbers significantly."

One of the university's goals is to have driverless vehicles on Ann Arbor roads by 2021. 

About $10 million has been invested in MCity. The university has invested about $3.5 million and the Michigan Department of Transportation has invested $3 million.