Ford’s Autonomous Fusion Drives In Artificial Michigan City

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Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle at Mcity

It’s not quite “Vanilla Sky,” but Ford is testing its autonomous vehicle tech at the University of Michigan’s Mcity, a 32-acre fake city with weirdly placed fire hydrants and fake hipster bookstores, and no one around.

The automaker announced Friday that its Fusion Hybrid was managing the testing grounds’ lanes, turns, roads, intersections, lights, without one artificial bumper bent or curbed wheel — allegedly.

Ford’s announcement and video are thin on details but thick with meaning: Ford is still kicking in the robot-car game. Automakers such as General Motors, Tesla and Volvo have announced or rolled out semi-autonomous features such as Super Cruise, Auto-Pilot or Autopilot. (Wait, Volvo and Tesla call it the same thing?)

“Testing Ford’s autonomous vehicle fleet at Mcity provides another challenging, yet safe, urban environment to repeatedly check and hone these new technologies,” Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development said in statement. “This is an important step in making millions of people’s lives better and improving their mobility.”

In case you were thinking that the Big Blue Oval was behind on this technology stuff, there’s always this, from the statement:

Ford has been testing autonomous vehicles for more than 10 years and is now expanding testing on the diversity of roads and realistic neighborhoods of Mcity near the North Campus Research Complex to accelerate research of advanced sensing technologies.

They practically invented robot cars, you guys.