Ford steps up autonomous vehicle testing in 32-acre simulated city

Ford is using the University of Michigan's Mcity to put its autonomous vehicle through its paces.

Ford said it is testing its autonomous vehicle at Mcity, University of Michigan's simulated city, in an effort to speed development time.

The company is the first carmaker to test an autonomous vehicle at Mcity. Mcity is a 32-acre facility that's part of the University of Michigan's Mobility Transformation Center.

In addition, the facility also represents Detroit's effort to keep pace with other autonomous vehicle efforts from the likes of Google, which has been testing its sometimes too slow self-driving car. Bloomberg recently profiled GM's efforts to develop autonomous driving features.

Ford is expanding testing of its Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle, which now has cameras, radar, LiDAR sensors, 3D mapping and other tools. Mcity is being used as a location with realistic neighborhoods.

More: First Australian driverless car trial a success in Adelaide | Google to steer clear of car-making, but Mercedes eyes driverless limos | How to hack self-driving cars with a laser pointer | Toyota invests $50 million with Stanford, MIT to develop vehicle AI | Daimler's self-driving 18-wheelers ready to take to the autobahn | Ford looks down the road with 3D printing, self-driving car | Google's self driving vehicles hit road: Google Glass on wheels? | Ford CEO Fields on autonomous cars, big data, Tesla

Mcity opened in July and features scenarios such as running red lights that can't be done on real streets. Mcity features everything a city would have such as trees, hydrants and construction barriers.

Ford is lumping the autonomous vehicles in wit its Smart Mobility plan, which aims to reinvent transportation via various technologies.

Here's a look at Ford's autonomous car in Mcity.

Ford is accelerating testing of its Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle as the first automaker to test a fully autonomous vehicle at Mcity, the world's first full-scale simulated urban environment at University of Michigan.
3D Mapping aerial view of what the Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle sees (in purple) as it navigates the roadway at Mcity.