Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2016

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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26 unmanned systems inside   June/July 2016 LAND INFRASTRUCTURE Photo courtesy of The University of Michigan A s drivers move across cities and towns or cruise along U.S. highways, most don't think about the infrastructure that surrounds them. The stoplights, road signs and lane markings have always just been there, guiding their next move and helping keep the roadways safe. But what happens when these cars no longer have drivers, and become instead robots that rely on constant communication to get their passen- gers from point A to point B without incident? If the public is to truly benefit from integrating autonomous cars the supporting infrastructure must be updated to ensure a smooth transition to a world where robots do the driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), other agencies and car manufacturers all recognize the need to upgrade the infrastructure but there are many unanswered questions and challenges that make this a difficult task, from how quickly fully autonomous cars will be avail- able to public acceptance to the costs and politics by Renee Knight PAVING THE ROAD FOR DRIVERLESS CARS The University of Michigan's Mobility Transformation Center opened MCity last July. The 32-acre facility simulates the various complexities connected and autonomous vehicles will encounter in both urban and suburban environments. The Michigan Department of Transportation works closely with MCity. There are also plans to open another 332 acre testing facility in 2017 at the former Willow Run GM Powertrain plant in Ypsilanti Township, showcasing the state's commitment to safely integrating driverless cars onto the roadways. There is a sequence of communication and infrastructure upgrades that need to happen before driverless cars become a common sight on our roadways.

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