University of Michigan Is Building a Fake City to Test Autonomous Cars

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So, Google successfully made an autonomous car. Other businesses are getting into the self-driving game, too. Now, these automotive providers are faced with the challenge of making sure these cars can pass a driving test. They already crossed a major hurdle: getting the legislature in California to approve street testing of their autonomous vehicles, although, granted it is going to be very strictly regulated. Now, a university is going to build an entire city — well, simulated city — to test the cars further.

The University of Michigan is creating the Mobility Transformation Facility. The testing environment will be complete with rotaries, stop lights, railroad crossings, building facades, and even (fake) pedestrians. Basically, it's as real as a fake city can be. Because it will have different road and traffic conditions, researchers can see how automated cards react in real time. They'll even be able to throw in odd timing for traffic signals and jaywalking scenarios, to get more realistic reactions from the cars. 

It's set to open this fall.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.