Driverless, networked cars on Ann Arbor roads by 2021November 11th, 2013 in Technology / Energy & Green Tech
(Phys.org) —By 2021, Ann Arbor could become the first American city with a shared fleet of networked, driverless vehicles. That's the goal of the Mobility Transformation Center, a cross-campus University of Michigan initiative that also involves government and industry representatives.
"Ann Arbor will be seen as the leader in 21st century mobility," said Peter Sweatman, director of the U-M Transportation Research Institute. "We want to demonstrate fully driverless vehicles operating within the whole infrastructure of the city within an eight-year timeline and to show that these can be safe, effective and commercially successful."
Autonomous vehicles could change how people and goods move around in a way that the auto industry hasn't seen since its inception, researchers say.
"We've now entered into a period where the technology and the business models are coming together to allow us to break out of this 100-year dependence on what we've always known," said Larry Burns, a professor of practice at Michigan Engineering and former head of research and development for General Motors.
For self-driving vehicles to bring this revolution, though, they have to be at the center of a reimagined transportation system in which vehicles are networked and shared. Simply replacing conventional models with driverless ones won't achieve the maximum benefits, Burns says.
Through the Mobility Transformation Center, U-M is working toward this goal.
Researchers are in the midst of the nation's largest street-level connected vehicle experiment, called Safety Pilot, which involves some 3,000 area residents in networked vehicles. And in October, U-M regents approved plans for a one-of-a-kind driverless car test environment near North Campus. The 30-acre, $6.5 million facility—a joint project with industry and government—will simulate a dynamic cityscape where researchers can test how the vehicles perform in complex urban settings.
Provided by University of Michigan
"Driverless, networked cars on Ann Arbor roads by 2021." November 11th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-11-driverless-networked-cars-ann-arbor.html