Ford Motor Company and its fleet of autonomous test vehicles are still getting plenty of practice at the University of Michigan’s simulated urban environment, “MCity”. The automaker first started testing at the 32-acre facility back in November, 2015, and although Ford handed its self-driving software off to Argo AI earlier this year, there are always new scenarios to run; new obstacles to test the autonomous car’s capabilities against.
“We are showing and testing out our research code,” says Ford VP of Research & Advanced Engineering and CTO Ken Washington. “We’re taking the code that we gave [Argo AI] to start from, and we’re using that as the base for how to explore new capabilities, new things that we can bring to the future.”
He says that MCity is “the perfect place” to do that, as it effectively simulates an urban environment while giving Ford the opportunity to try their autonomous software out against scripted events. The automaker also tests their self-driving cars on public roads – in California, Arizona, and within its Dearborn product campus – but the University’s testing ground gives Ford the ability to systematically work through some of the myriad drills it will have to conduct. All that data will help Ford and Argo AI to build out Ford’s autonomous vehicle software as they work toward putting a self-driving car on the road by 2021.
“We feel good about our position,” says Washington. “The biggest challenge for us [going forward] is helping the public and the policy makers understand what’s real and what’s fake” about autonomous vehicle function.
(Source: The Detroit News)