Heavy Trucks Learners Explore Mcity

May 31, 2022

by Britney Rivers

Learners in the Dynamics of Heavy Duty Trucks course recently explored Mcity, the autonomous vehicle testing grounds. 

After a 2-year hiatus, the Dynamics of Heavy Duty Trucks course returned to Ann Arbor in May. Many learners from out of state participated in this unique opportunity to explore the complex mechanics of commercial vehicles. 

On the final day of the course, the learners visited Mcity, the world-renowned connected and automated vehicle testing facility located on the University of Michigan North Campus. The Mcity facility is utilized by Michigan researchers and third-party tech and automotive companies. Instructor Steve Karamihas, Lead Faculty and Senior Research Specialist at U-M Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), and Chris Labelle, the Executive Director for Online and Professional Education, attended as well. 

Assistant Director of Mcity, Victoria Waters led the tour. She guided the group on a detailed walkthrough of the automated vehicle test track. Nexus learners saw various features that simulate a real-world driving environment, including sidewalks, railroad crossings, and traffic signs. 

As the tour group explored, Victoria shared, “Here at Mcity, we believe that you have to have automated vehicles that are also connected with each other. We think of the test facility as a sandbox where all “toys” are welcome and we have all the necessary technology that industry and researchers are looking for to test connected automated vehicles. We continue to add capabilities and features to maintain its status as the global leader.”

Nexus learners were impressed with Mcity’s smart intersection which has a 360-degree panoramic view. Smart intersections are capable of gathering and transmitting information in real-time to connected cars by using cameras and infrared sensors to capture vehicular movements.

During the tour, learners walked onto the track’s highway strip, which allows a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour. The highway can be manipulated to emulate a construction zone, and it can also simulate Michigan left turns. Moreover, the tour included an in-depth look at the on-site connected and automated vehicles and the Mcity driverless shuttle that operated from June 2018 through December 2019. 

Many transportation companies are developing autonomous commercial trucks. One participant said, “Seeing this facility encourages me to start implementing more innovative ideas into my trucking company.” The learners were fully engaged in the tour and believed that visiting a test facility solely dedicated to connected vehicles was a worthwhile experience.

Are you interested in attending a similar professional education course and earning a certificate from Michigan Engineering? Check out the upcoming opportunities available this year.

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