The Michigan Science Center in Detroit has partnered with Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn to bring autonomous vehicle technology to the public eye.
The organizations have partnered to create the center’s first autonomous vehicle exhibit. The exhibit was built by Ford engineers and developers and offers a vehicle of the future that museum guests can engage with and sit in to learn about the technology through interactive displays and a simulation.
“A key part of Ford’s efforts to build a self-driving business across this country is educating people on how the vehicles operate autonomously, as well as the benefits they provide,” says John Rich, director of autonomous vehicle technology at Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC. “Through this interactive experience at the Michigan Science Center, our goal is to build trust in self-driving technology and inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists, and mathematicians to pursue a career in transportation.”
Guests will learn how autonomous vehicles operate and make decisions without a human driver using data that is collected through 3-D maps, cameras, sensors, and LiDAR. The LiDAR simulation also shows how an autonomous vehicle sees the environment around it as it drives, including pedestrians and other cars. Visitors will also be able to take a photo of their experience to keep and share digitally.
“The Michigan Science Center is honored to work with Ford to bring this unique learning experience to our guests,” says Christian Greer, president and CEO of the center. “The Ford autonomous vehicle exhibit demonstrates how science and technology is being used in Michigan to transform the automotive industry and the future of driving.”
Ford is working with Argo AI, its self-driving technology partner, to test self-driving vehicles on public roads in metro Detroit, including Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, among other U.S. cities. Ford plans to launch a self-driving service in Austin, Miami, and Washington, D.C.
The autonomous vehicle exhibit at the Michigan Science Center joins more than 220 hands-on exhibits, live shows, Spark!Lab from the Smithsonian, Kids Town, and more. The museum offers a Summer of Science program, distance learning, and at-home science experiments through its website. The center has nearly 250,000 visitors every year and offers STEM exhibits and programming.