Ford Becomes First Automaker to Test Autonomous Vehicles at Ann Arbor's M City

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Ford Motor Co. today announced it is the first automaker to test autonomous vehicles at M City, a 32-acre facility designed to replicate a city environment located at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

“Testing Ford’s autonomous vehicle fleet at M City provides another challenging, yet safe, urban environment to repeatedly check and hone these new technologies,” says Raj Nair, group vice president of global product development for Ford. “This is an important step in making millions of people’s lives better and improving their mobility.”

Nair says Ford has been testing autonomous vehicles for more than 10 years, but has expanded its testing to M City for its diversity of roads and realistic neighborhoods. He says the automaker is using its Fusion Hybrid to test the technologies, which include front-facing cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors, and four sensors that generate a real-time 3-D map of the vehicle’s surrounding environment.

“The goal of M City is that we get a scaling factor,” says Ryan Eustice, an associate professor of engineering at U-M and a principal investigator in Ford’s research collaboration with the university. “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.”

Eustice says the team is working to make sensing and computing technologies feasible for production while continuing to test different algorithms

Along with testing at M City and on public roads, Ford’s autonomous fleet is being tested at the company’s vehicle development facilities in Dearborn and Romeo.

To learn more about M City, read DBusiness magazine’s article in the March/April issue here. â€‹

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