Mcity is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is a city with a difference because even though it has all the characteristics of a city with roads, buildings and lamp posts, it is not inhabited by people but with robots. There are five-lane roads, intersections, buildings, and pedestrians who wave to passing cars are robots.

The uniqueness of this 32-acre project is that it is meant to develop and test Self-driving cars. The facility creates an environment that will resemble actual traffic conditions one usually encounters on the road.

Revolution of self-driving cars

Daily Mail UK reports that the setup known as Mobility Transformation Center is a full-scale model of a town that replicates a real city. Test driving a new generation of cars on actual roads is risky, and a facility like Mcity of the University of Michigan comes in handy. It will be used to test out self-driving cars in artificially created environments to assess possible glitches and rectify them in advance.

People form an integral part of any city and vehicles must take care of sudden obstructions due to human beings. This aspect is taken care of by deploying robots that are programmed to suddenly appear in the path of the vehicle to distract the driver and act and behave like human beings.

The intention is to assess response time to take an evasive action.

The future scenario

According to Peter Sweatman, director of the U-M Mobility Transformation Center, the technologies in Mcity have their eyes set on the mobility of the 21st century. It is expected that automated mobility, as envisaged through self-driving cars, will influence various factors related to driving.

Incidentally, the design and development of Mcity was a joint effort of the University of Michigan’s MTC and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). Its purpose is to make available an infrastructure to test out new technologies before introducing them on a real-time basis on public roads and highways.

The design of the facility will provide car makers a safe place to test their new technology.

It has gone into minor details like road signs defaced by graffiti and faded lane markings. The automated onboard system is expected to decipher these and take necessary action. Deploying robots on the roads add to the confidence level of the manufacturer as well as the final user. These robots are labeled as 'mechatronic pedestrians' and will suddenly appear in the traffic to test out sensors and automatic brakes of the car to avoid real-time accidents.

Electric vehicles are expected to be a future mode of transport and injunction with self-driving cars will revolutionize the scene.