Our Research Framework

Mcity’s approach to applied research funding includes a combination of government grants and member supported projects. Our key research pillars include:

  • Smart infrastructure for CAVs
  • Automated vehicle safety
  • Equitable and accessible mobility
  • Smart city prototypes

Mcity partners on projects and collaborates with Mcity members on grant proposals from funding sources at all levels of government.

Mcity members also earn matching funds for company-directed research projects when interests of your organization align with Mcity interests.

Project Highlights

Mcity is a trusted partner on a wide range of research projects across southeast Michigan funded by local, state and federal government agencies as well as industry.

Autonomous vehicles driving at intersection in downtown Ann Arbor

Awarded 2023

Ann Arbor Connected Environment 2.0

Advanced Transportation Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) program grant awarded to update one of the largest connected vehicle environments in the world with cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology.

PI: Jim Sayer, Director, U-M Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and Henry Liu, Mcity Director
Funding: Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
Awarded to: UMTRI
Mcity role: Engineering support

Mcity 2.0: The next-generation AV test facility

Awarded 2022

Mcity 2.0

Enhancing the Mcity Test Facility by developing digital infrastructure to overlay the physical test facility and create a cloud-based, augmented-reality CAV testbed that will be available to academic researchers nationwide.

PI: Henry Liu, Mcity Director
Funding: National Science Foundation
Awarded to: Mcity
Mcity role: Lead


A2GO black Lexus vehicle parked outside the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, MI

Awarded 2021


Mcity joined May Mobility and several other partners in October 2021 to launch A2GO – a free, public, on-demand autonomous shuttle service connects the University of Michigan campus, Kerrytown, and the State Street Corridor in Ann Arbor. Mcity’s one-year role in the project ended in 2022.

PI: Henry Liu, Mcity Director
Funding: Michigan Economic Development Corp. (partial)
Awarded to: May Mobility and partners including Mcity, Ann Arbor SPARK, Important Safety Technologies, 4M and state of Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification
Mcity role: Data collection

Skyline of Detroit

Awarded 2021

Michigan Mobility Collaborative

An Automated Driverless System (ADS) Shuttle pilot project serving seniors and physically disabled residents of Detroit.

PI: Henry Liu, Mcity Director
Funding: U.S. Department of Transportation
Awarded to: City of Detroit
Mcity role: Conducting safety testing

Two cars approaching within a roundabout

Awarded 2021

Smart Intersections Project

21 intersections in Ann Arbor gather and transmit information
in real time to connected cars, potentially providing warnings when vehicles are in dangerous situations. Additional funding awarded to the AACE 2.0 Project will equip total 75 intersections in Ann Arbor.

PI: Henry Liu, Mcity Director and Jim Sayer, Director, U-M Transportation Research Institute
Funding: Federal Highway Administration (U.S. Department of Transportation)
Awarded to: UMTRI
Mcity role: Engineering support


Mcity Driverless Shuttle

Awarded 2018

Mcity Driverless Shuttle

The primary goal of the Mcity Driverless Shuttle research project was to understand human acceptance, trust, and behavior when riding in a driverless shuttle or interacting with one on the road. The project launched in June 2018 and was completed in December 2019.

PI: Huei Peng, former Mcity Director (deceased)
Funding: Mcity
Awarded to: Mcity, supported by J.D. Power
Mcity role: Lead


A Legacy of Research Funding

From 2014 through 2024, Mcity invested $17.4 million to fund 86 research projects across a range of topics, including cybersecurity, pedestrian detection, design guidelines for accessible automated vehicles, data policies for cities of the future, and legal, liability and insurance considerations for connected and automated vehicles. Learn more about completed research and projects that are still in progress.