Ford is first to test driverless cars in fake city 1

The future is here. Ford has beaten other carmakers and tech companies to be the first to test out their autonomous technology on the streets of a fake city.

Video from Ford Media’s YouTube account.

The purposefully built city, called Mcity, is spread over 130,000 square meters. Designed by the University of Michigan and the Department of Transportation of Michigan, the city is also situated (you may have guessed it) in Michigan. In order to simulate the roads of America, Mcity features streets, traffic lights, stop signs, pedestrian crossings, bike lanes, trees, roundabouts, tunnels and roads with two to four lanes.

Automakers helped fund the project, including General Motors and Honda, because it was a practical way to test out these new technologies in a controlled environment. Vehicles are able to be tested in different scenarios and situations that wouldn’t have been plausible on real roads with real traffic.

The Ford vehicles use driver-assist technology and LiDAR sensors, which use lasers and cameras to measure distance and create a real-time, 3-D map of the surrounding area. Ford’s vice president of global product development Raj Nair told reporters, “We’ve been testing autonomous cars in the real world, but using a place like Mcity will allow us to refine our algorithms and better calibrate car sensors by repeating specific situations in a reliable way”.

We’re sure we’ll be seeing more car manufacturers on the roads of Mcity soon; as the industry is hoping the autonomous technology will be ready within the next four to five years.