The University of Michigan, May Mobility, and the City of Detroit are joining forces to conduct autonomous vehicle (AV) testing. This collaborative effort is currently underway at the University of Michigan’s Mcity Test Facility. It aims to ensure that the technology is robust enough to safely cater to the needs of older adults and people with disabilities in Detroit.
Why It Matters
The move to introduce AVs in Detroit is a significant step towards revolutionizing urban mobility. It symbolizes a commitment to making transportation safer, more accessible, and environmentally friendly. However, this technological leap also brings challenges, primarily in gaining public trust, especially in the wake of recent incidents involving driverless vehicles. By undertaking rigorous testing, Detroit is positioning itself as a leader in adopting cutting-edge, safe, and inclusive transportation solutions.
- The testing phase, initiated by U-M researchers, will span several months and includes an AV from May Mobility, a leader in AV technology.
- The Mcity Test Facility, a world-first for testing automated vehicles, will serve as the testing ground, employing the Mcity Safety Assessment Program.
- The assessment comprises a “Driver’s License Test” for basic competency and a “Driving Intelligence Test” for complex, high-risk scenarios.
- This program is augmented by a unique blend of real and virtual testing environments, ensuring a comprehensive safety evaluation.
- The project is backed by a $2.4 million contract approved by the Detroit City Council, with plans for the AVs’ deployment in June 2024.
- The initiative prioritizes serving Detroit residents aged 65 and above and those living with disabilities, providing free transportation to essential locations.
The extensive testing of the AV at Mcity, followed by high-speed trials at the American Center for Mobility, demonstrates Detroit’s commitment to safety and innovation in transportation. This project not only promises to enhance the quality of life for many Detroit residents but also sets a precedent for the future of autonomous vehicle technology in urban settings. It underscores the importance of rigorous testing and public-private partnerships in pioneering safe and equitable transportation solutions.