reported by Mashable: Detroit has long been the home of all things automotive in the U.S., and it doesn't want to cede its position to Silicon Valley when it comes to driverless cars.
The University of Michigan announced Monday it was opening a 32-acre testing facility at its Ann Arbor campus for the development of driverless cars called Mcity.
The facility, which is about 45 miles away from Detroit, will be an immersive simulation of different driving environments. Mcity will feature varying road conditions, construction hazards, road signs deteriorated with graffiti and building facades. It was designed by the Michigan Department of Transportation and the University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center (MTC).
Mcity received large investments from a variety of automakers including Honda, Ford, GM, Toyota and Nissan as well as tech companies like Verizon and Delphi. Ford has already been testing autonomous cars at the facility, according to a Bloomberg report.
MTC has also expressed interest in testing vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communications at the facility, where connected cars "talk" to each other and to city infrastructure. One of the goals of the project is to have autonomous vehicles testing on Ann Arbor streets by 2021.
is testing self-driving semi trucks in Nevada; Google recently brought a pair of its cars to Austin; Virginia is opening its public highways for testing.
Cars with autonomous functions will have to be incredibly well-developed before they can be sold to the general public, so extensive testing in a variety of environments is a must. Driverless cars already face much skepticism from the public, and the press hasn't helped matters.
Mcity should also be a boon to the many automakers who are either based in Detroit or have their U.S. operations headquartered there.
“The Google folks are kind of strutting their stuff. They’ve got nothing on us. This is the center of the universe. This is Michigan, it’s not California. We’re not going to let Silicon Valley take this technology, ” Michigan Senator Gary Peters said Monday, as reported by Bloomberg.
A grandiose statement, but one which does reflect the long history of making cars in Michigan."