A self-driving Ford Fusion will be soon be the first autonomous car to officially hit the road at Mcity, the University of Michigan’s Simulated Urban Environment. The 32-acre fake city, unveiled over the summer, is the world’s first full-scale simulated real-world urban environment designed to test connected and automated vehicles in an effort to speed up development.
“We are pleased to welcome Ford as the first automaker to use Mcity to test autonomous vehicles,” said Peter Sweatman, director, Mobility Transformation Center. “Mcity offers a unique, real-world test environment that will help Ford accelerate development of its autonomous technology while building on its existing research collaboration with University of Michigan.”
Ford’s Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle is decked out with all the technology needed to put it through its paces. We’re talking cameras, radar, LiDAR sensors and real-time 3D mapping technology designed to steer the car without a driver at the wheel.
“Testing Ford’s autonomous vehicle fleet at Mcity provides another challenging, yet safe, urban environment to repeatedly check and hone these new technologies,” says Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “This is an important step in making millions of people’s lives better and improving their mobility.”
Ford’s not new to autonomous vehicles. It’s been testing them for more than 10 years and first revealed its Fusion Autonomous Vehicle in 2013. Earlier this year, Ford announced it moved its research efforts in autonomous vehicle technology to the next step in development, to the advanced engineering phase. The team is working to make sensing and computing technologies feasible for production while continuing to test and refine algorithms.
Along with testing at Mcity and on public roads, Ford’s autonomous fleet has been put through the paces at the company’s vehicle development facilities in Dearborn and Romeo, Michigan.
Photo Credit: Ford