Ford will begin testing its autonomous cars at Mcity, part of the University of Michigan, where it has a full-scale simulated real-world urban environment site.
Ford has been testing autonomous vehicles for more than ten years and is now it is expanding testing on the diversity of roads and realistic scenarios on Mcity, near the North Campus Research Complex of the University of Michigan, to accelerate research of advanced sensing technologies. The first model going through these tests is the Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle, a car which has many driver-assist technologies, such as front-facing cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors, and four LiDAR sensors to generate a real-time 3D map of the vehicle’s surrounding environment. The 32-acre city site, opened in July this year, has a full-scale urban environment that can provide real-world road scenarios.
There are street lights, crosswalks, lane delineators, curb cuts, bike lanes, trees, hydrants, sidewalks, signs, traffic control devices, and construction barriers. There are even three- and four-lane roads, as well as ramps, roundabouts and tunnels. Also, Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle can be tested over a wide range of surfaces, as concrete, asphalt, simulated brick and dirt. “The goal of Mcity is that we get a scaling factor. Every mile driven there can represent 10, 100 or 1,000 miles of on-road driving in terms of our ability to pack in the occurrences of difficult events,” said Ryan Eustice, University of Michigan associate professor and co-investigator in Ford’s research collaboration with the university, one of two faculty working on this project with Ford.