Ford wants to haveautonomous cars on the road for commercial purposes by 2021. In order to prepare for that, it's testing its cars and systems in a "city" built exclusively for self-driving cars.
The video above takes a look at Ford's self-driving cars as they tackle Mcity. Mcity is the. With roundabouts, traffic lights, bike lanes and intersections, it provides the structure of a city without the concern of actually operating in public.
Ford wants its Level 4 system, which means a human is only needed in modes that specifically require human intervention, to hit the ground running in 2021, but don't expect them to be made available for the public at that point. As Automotive News points out, Ford's first commercially viable self-driving cars will be limited to very specific areas, such as the metropolitan Detroit area as part of a local mobility service. Consumer sales won't likely start until 2025 or later.
Of course, the real world is full of "fun" surprises, something a controlled environment like Mcity can only simulate. The real test will be whether or not Ford's self-driving fleet can handle the transition from Mcity to an actual city. To help prove their capabilities, Ford's already run some of its vehicles on roads in California, Arizona and Michigan.
Update, 4:37 p.m. Eastern: Clarified potential use scenarios.