Ford Is Now Testing Driverless Cars On The Streets Of A Fake City

Ford became the first manufacturer to test its driverless car in Fakecity, Michigan (OK, it’s not really called that—it’s called “Mcity,” which isn’t as fun), the company announced on Friday.


The Mcity complex opened in July as a 32-acre faux town designed by the University of Michigan, and Ford took its Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle out for a spin in town with cameras, radar, 3D-mapping technology and all the rest for tracking the drive.

Mcity looks somewhat like an eerily empty movie set, and luckily we got a video out of it from Ford:

Even though there aren’t people in the city (except for the ones in the car, who appear to be optional at this point), it’s equipped with roads of different surfaces and sizes, ramps, roundabouts, tunnels, crosswalks, streetlights and all of the other stuff you’d see on your average drive.

The good thing about the lack of an Mcity population is that cars can test scenarios such as running red lights—which wouldn’t be advised with other drivers on the road—on the streets. Better to get that kind of thing tested in Faketown, USA before bringing cars onto the real roads.

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Ok, so autonomous cars have proven time and again that they can drive very safely in near-ideal conditions. Let’s see what happens three months from now when Michigan gets a foot of snow and roads are poorly plowed.

This will be the *major* stumbling block of autonomous vehicles. They will cry “no mas” in precisely the conditions where human drivers have the least skill now, and will have even less so when autonomous systems do most of the driving.