Ford will be the first company to use the University of Michigan's Mcity to test a self-driving car.

Mcity is a simulated city that stretches over an area of 32 acres, created within the University of Michigan campus. The facility looks to provide car companies with a safe location to test self-driving cars over a variety of paces and situations.

Mcity, part of the Mobility Transformation Center of the university, was launched in July. It is open to automobile manufacturers, telecommunications providers, suppliers and other kinds of companies that are working to develop self-driving car technology. The faculty and the students of the university are also allowed to utilize Mcity for various studies and projects.

Ford, along with other big names in the industry such as Honda and General Motors, have been working with autonomous driving technology for years, with their efforts already starting to be included in the latest models of vehicles to improve road safety.

"Testing Ford's autonomous vehicle fleet at Mcity provides another challenging, yet safe, urban environment to repeatedly check and hone these new technologies," said Ford VP of Global Product Development Raj Nair.

The Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle of Ford features cameras, sensors and radar to create real-time 3D maps of the environment surrounding the vehicle. The system utilizes the map to make decisions while driving, and it will do so as it navigates through the streets and structures found in Mcity.

According to Ryan Eustice, an associate professor at the University of Michigan and the principal investigator in the research collaboration with Ford, Mcity's goal is to create a scaling factor in the testing of autonomous vehicle technology. For every mile that a self-driving car travels in the facility, it could represent many more miles of actual driving with as many difficult situations that can be placed within that one mile.

Mobility Transformation Center director Peter Sweatman welcomed Ford as the first car company to utilize Mcity for testing self-driving cars, adding that Mcity will offer a unique testing to help in accelerating Ford's research into the technology while building upon the collaboration with the University of Michigan.

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