A City for Autonomy

There’s a city on 32 acres in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

There’s a city on 32 acres in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Specifically, on the University of Michigan’s North Campus Research Complex.


The city has roads with the attendant signs, signals, sidewalks, and intersections. There are benches and buildings*. There are street lights and construction barriers.

While Peter Sweatman, director of the Mobility Transportation Center (MTC), says that Mcity streets don’t have any potholes (which is rather astonishing for anyone who is at all familiar with the roads in Michigan), there are concrete, asphalt, brick, and dirt.

The rational for Mcity can be discerned by looking at a list of the 15 MTC Leadership Circle member companies, companies that are investing $1-million over three years (in addition to 33 affiliates, kicking in $150,000 each):

  • Delphi Automotive
  • DENSO Corp.
  • Econolite Group
  • Ford
  • General Motors
  • Honda
  • Iteris
  • Navistar
  • Nissan
  • Qualcomm
  • Robert Bosch
  • State Farm
  • Toyota
  • Verizon
  • Xerox

Yes, as you might discern from the list, Mcity, where there are no people, is all about the development of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Sweatman explains not only how these technologies are being developed, but some of the issues—some of which are organizational, legal and technical—related to the road to autonomy on this edition of “Autoline After Hours.”

Sweatman talks to host John McElory; Doron Levin, host of “In the Driver’s Seat” on SiriusXM channel 121; and me.

In addition to which, the three of us talk about some of the potential reasons behind why Sergio Marchionne wants to hook up with General Motors, take a look at the 2016 Lexus RX, and discuss the phenomenon that is Tesla Motors. And, of course, there’s more.

*Well, they’re buildings sort of like those built for film sets: all front and no back.