mobile transformation facilityThe University of Michigan will be truly ahead of the pack this fall as it opens up a new automated vehicle test facility on North Campus. Over the course of this summer, construction will be done on the patent-pending Mobility Transformation Facility, where all 32 acres of it will be a simulated city center that has its own four-lane highway to boot. Specially designed to help researchers test out just how automated and networked vehicles will respond to rare but dangerous traffic events and road conditions, this is a crucial step in ensuring that such vehicles will eventually operate safely in real world conditions.

What you see above happens to be an artist’s conception of the Mobility Transformation Facility, which is a place that we can say we cannot wait to see it open later this fall. Such a facility will be operated by U-M’s Mobility Transformation Center, and a couple of Michigan Engineering robotics researchers will have the due honor of being one of its first users.

This particular test environment will boast of the likes of merge lanes, stoplights, intersections, roundabouts, road signs, a railroad crossing, building facades, construction barrels and eventually a mechanical pedestrian, and it would be interesting to see just what kind of test results are garnered from this particular exercise. It would certainly be in the favor of self-driving vehicles if the test results turn out all right. [Press Release]

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