This Busy City Will Never Have a Home for Sale

August 19, 2015

Few professionals log as much road time as real estate practitioners; with REALTOR® Safety Month approaching, the work being done in Michigan's unique Mcity takes on a new level of importance.

The 32-acre Mcity has been designed by the University of Michigan, collaborating with local and state governments and a variety of companies. UM calls Mcity "the world's first controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies."

The city is designed with a variety of real-life features that allow companies to send out driverless cars to see how they perform in realistic conditions, giving designers a chance to work out bugs before the cars are exposed to people. A UM press release describes it as a "simulated urban and suburban environment that includes a network of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, streetlights, building facades, sidewalks, and construction obstacles."

The attention to detail includes road signs defaced by graffiti and faded lane markings, to see how the cars' software reacts to less-than-ideal conditions.

While driverless cars have to date carried an image of an elite perk, some of the companies investing in the research are known for the mass market. Some of the investors include Ford, GM, Honda, State Farm, and Toyota, with "traffic signal and traffic sensing companies, insurance providers, telecommunications, big data, IT and more" also playing roles.

While the research will be ongoing, UM says a key goal is to put a network of connected, automated vehicles on the road in Ann Arbor by 2021.

Source: "U-M opens Mcity test environment for connected and driverless vehicles," University of Michigan (July 20, 2015)