What happens when autonomous cars meet bad drivers?

November 17, 2015

How would an autonomous car respond to someone running a red light? This is just one of the questions that we are exploring at a special test facility that simulates a busy city.

The 32-acre full-scale urban environment Mcity, in the U.S., opened earlier this year to offer real-world road scenarios that can’t be replicated on public roads.

And now, after testing autonomous vehicles for more than a decade, we are the first car maker to use the facility – complete with bike lanes, tunnels, and even construction barriers – for our autonomous research vehicle.

“Every mile driven there can represent 10, 100 or 1,000 miles of on-road driving in terms of our ability to pack in the occurrences of difficult events,” said Ryan Eustice, from the University of Michigan, where MCity is located.

At the beginning of the year, we unveiled our Smart Mobility plan to help change the way the world moves through innovation in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data.

Many of the building blocks – software, cameras and radar sensors – already are enabling semi-autonomous technologies, such as Active Park Assist, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, and Intelligent Dynamic LED Headlights in our current range of vehicles.

“Testing Ford’s autonomous vehicle fleet at Mcity provides another challenging, yet safe, urban environment to repeatedly check and hone these new technologies,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “This is an important step in making millions of people’s lives better and improving their mobility”