Take a trip to the University of Michigan campus and you may find yourself in a ghost town. Where are all the people? This particular town was not created for people. U of M’s recently unveiled 32 acre ‘Mcity‘ is populated entirely by driverless cars.
The 10 million dollar test city for driverless cars will allow for the unabridged testing of these vehicles. Fully autonomous vehicles will certainly be a vital element for the future of society, and potentially solve a number of obstacles that drivers currently face.
Senior citizens and people facing disabilities would have better opportunities for transportation without having to rely on a driver. Ideally the probability of traffic accidents would be virtually eliminated. Although Google’s driverless cars have been involved in a number of collisions in California, in all cases humans were at fault, according to Google.
Mcity currently has only one resident, a robot named Sebastian. Sebastian was created by U of M engineering students to give the driverless cars a pedestrian obstacle. The driverless cars are tested on how they would react to live pedestrians by avoiding Sebastian as he walks in front of them.
The Michigan Department of Transportation also contributed 3 million dollars toward development of Mcity. Thirty affiliate sponsors plus Ford, General Motors, and Verizon also contributed over 1 Million to the project. These sponsors are allowed to use Mcity for their own purposes at four hour intervals.
It seems that Mcity will likely create a progressive research utopia for autonomous vehicles. What are your thoughts on the progression of this technology, and what would you do if you could spend a day with Sebastian in Mcity?
Felton, R. (2015, July 26). Welcome to MCity, Michigan’s ghost town of driverless cars. The Guardian. Retrieved from www.theguardian.com
Harris, M (2015, May 11). Google’s driverless cars have been involved in three car accidents. Quartz. Retrieved from www.qz.com