NSF Initiates First Remotely Accessible, AR Facility for Autonomous Transportation Research

NSF awarded $5 million to the University of Michigan to expand its original CAV proving ground.

An open-source connected and automated research vehicle is parked on the roundabout at the Mcity Test Facility, the world’s first purpose-built proving ground for testing the performance and safety of connected and automated vehicles and technologies under controlled and realistic conditions.
An open-source connected and automated research vehicle is parked on the roundabout at the Mcity Test Facility, the world’s first purpose-built proving ground for testing the performance and safety of connected and automated vehicles and technologies under controlled and realistic conditions.
Joseph Xu/Michigan Engineering

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $5 million to the University of Michigan to enable academic researchers and students nationwide to access the world’s first cloud-based, augmented-reality testbed for connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies.

The award will expand the university’s original CAV proving ground, known as Mcity, by integrating the physical test track with a software simulation environment.

“NSF invests in a broad array of fundamental research and new technologies for smart transportation, ranging from semiconductors and microelectronics to wireless communication, contactless electric vehicle charging and artificial intelligence,” said Susan Margulies, NSF assistant director for Engineering. “Testing these vehicle technologies in real-world scenarios is an essential step for transferring innovations to businesses, communities and drivers.”

The Mcity 2.0 augmented reality testbed will integrate three components:

  • A physical test facility including infrastructure and CAV fleet.
  • A mobility data center that collects and shares near-real-time traffic information from 21 intersections.
  • An augmented naturalistic diving simulator that blends real and virtual vehicles.

Researchers will be able to remotely configure and control the test facility infrastructure (traffic lights, crosswalk buttons, rail-crossing arms, etc.) and build test scenarios using a web-based graphical user interface.

nsf.gov

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