(This is a photo-heavy post. Readers on dialup or 2G, please bear with us, it’s worth it!)
This past week, the University of Michigan held an open house at M | city, their connected-vehicle testing grounds adjacent to North Campus and UMTRI (the U-M Transportation Research Institute).
Representatives of the Chamber of M | commerce led walking tours of the grounds showing the various terrains of this microcosm, including highways, train tracks, and Kerrytown-style brick roads.
There was also a tent featuring exhibits from member companies that pay for access to the grounds. It’s a 24×7 operation, since manufacturers and equipment developers need to test their vehicles in all conditions and at all times.
Unfortunately, there were no vehicles on the roads during our visit. Understandable, since crowds of pedestrians are a risky test environment, but some of my fellow visitors were disappointed that they didn’t get to actually ride in an autonomous vehicle.
Although street signage identifies it as State Street and Liberty, longtime townies (and probably some of the short-time townies) will instantly recognize downtown M | city as a bizarro version of Washington Street between Fourth and Fifth.
Around the corner, Zingerman’s occupies a single unit with two windows and a door. Presumably its popular mail order business is cranking along in the nondescript storefronts across the street, behind a lonely but functional iron bench. (I sat on it, it worked.)
I think the thing that delighted me the most was catching a glimpse of this neighboring building’s roof across M | city’s pretend I-75: