ANN ARBOR (WWJ/AP) – A Michigan testing site for connected and driverless cars that will simulate a cityscape is expected to be operational this spring.

Called “M City,” the 32-acre site is taking shape on the University of Michigan’s North Campus in Ann Arbor. Designed and built in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Transportation, roadway construction at the facility was completed in December.

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The school’s Mobility Transformation Center says a formal opening is planned for July.

The site will include a network of roads with up to five lanes, intersections, roundabouts, roadway markings, traffic signs, signals and sidewalks. Also planned are bus facilities, benches, simulated buildings, streetlights, parked cars and obstacles.

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“M City will allow us to rigorously test new approaches in a safe, controlled and realistic environment before we implement them on actual streets,” Peter Sweatman, director of U-M’s Mobility Transformation Center, said in a statement.

The school wants Ann Arbor to be home to a shared fleet of networked, driverless vehicles by 2021. The testing site is being built in partnership with industry and government to lay the foundations for a commercially viable system of connected and automated vehicles.

Connected vehicles exchange data, including location, speed and direction, with other vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure via wireless communication devices. Automated vehicles are equipped with systems to do driving functions such as such as acceleration, braking or steering.

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