The Mcity Test Facility is the first purpose-built proving ground for testing connected and automated vehicles and technologies in simulated urban and suburban driving environments. There’s no other facility like it.

Research at Mcity

Designed for Early Stage Research and Development

Testing new technologies in a safe, controlled environment is essential before deploying automated vehicles on public streets and highways. Working with the Michigan Department of Transportation, we designed Mcity – a unique test facility that simulates the broad range of complexities vehicles encounter in urban and suburban environments. Mcity sits on a 32-acre site on U-M’s North Campus, with about 16 acres of roads and traffic infrastructure. The grounds include approximately five lane-miles of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, simulated buildings, street lights, and obstacles such as construction barriers.

Mcity Test Facility Features

  • 1000’ North/South straight
  • Various road surfaces (concrete, asphalt, brick, dirt)
  • Variety of curve radii, ramps
  • Two, three, and four-lane roads
  • Round-about and “tunnels”
  • Sculpted dirt and grassy areas
  • Variety of signage and traffic control devices
  • Fixed, variable street lighting
  • Cross walks, lane delineators, curb cuts, bike lanes, grade crossings
  • Hydrants, sidewalks, etc.
  • “Buildings” (fixed and movable)

Like many automotive proving grounds, Mcity is a closed facility.  Due to safety and confidentiality concerns, access is limited to those involved in testing and research.

Driverless vehicle at M city test facility
Mcity is the world’s first purpose-build facility for testing connected and automated vehicles and technologies under controlled, realistic conditions before trying them out in real traffic.
M city grand opening ribbon cutting
Leaders from the University of Michigan, and local, state and federal government, cut the ribbon to open the Mcity Test Facility on July 20, 2015
store fronts at M city test facility
Building facades up to two stories high line the streets of Mcity’s urban downtown area.
car driving on track at M city test facility
Mcity includes urban and suburban streets, plus road signs, pedestrian crossings and other features to simulate real-world urban and suburban driving conditions.
robot pedestrian at M city test facility
Dummies can be used at Mcity to test pedestrian avoidance technology in automated vehicles.
M city test facility tunnel
A highway overpass is simulated at Mcity by a tunnel that blocks vehicles from wireless and satellite signals.
M city traffic signs
Road signs at Mcity are not pristine by design to effectively replicate real-world conditions.
testing vehicle and pedestrian at M city test facility
Testing scenarios can be configured to meet the specific needs of Mcity users evaluating advanced mobility vehicles and technologies.
interior of car looking through windshield at M city test facility
The Michigan Department of Transportation helped fund construction of the Mcity Test Facility, and provided traffic signs, overhead freeway signs and other equipment that had been taken out of service.