Building on the strength and international recognition of the University's Mcity, the entirety of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center has officially been renamed Mcity.
The Mobility Transformation Center launched in 2013 as a public-private partnership between government and industry to expand research on driverless cars. The MTC introduced Mcity in July 2015, as the world’s first testing ground for advanced mobility vehicles and technology.
Mcity quickly gained worldwide name recognition, which motivated the University to consider changing the name of the entire center. In an email interview, Susan Carney, the director of marketing and communications for Mcity, highlighted the importance of capitalizing on this growing recognition.
“We wanted to build on that strength,” Carney wrote. “Many inside and outside the university had begun to refer to the center as Mcity, not just the test facility.”
Mcity Deputy Director Carrie Morton believes this name change will also help connect the various projects taking place across Mcity.
“We are now uniting two separate brands that represented the full breadth of our work and what was formerly the MTC, under one very recognizable brand,” Morton said. “This allows us to really streamline and elevate our voice in this space by getting behind one brand, and leverage the brand of Mcity which was so well recognized.”
The testing ground itself, located on the University’s North Campus, will now be called the Mcity Test Facility. The test facility allows researchers to conduct stringent tests that would typically require thousands of miles of public roads.
The Mcity Test Facility is one of Mcity’s three main initiatives, which also include funding research and partnering with other groups, such as the University Transportation Research Institute, to deploy connected and automated vehicles on the streets of Ann Arbor and potentially beyond.
Right now, Mcity has partnerships with 65 companies, spanning various industries. Mcity has also invested approximately $16 million in 30 research projects such as studies on the interactions of motor vehicles and bicyclists as well as vehicle data collection for cloud processing.
“Rebranding as Mcity allows us to focus on one brand rather than two, and more effectively tell the story of the work we're doing to advance the development of advanced mobility vehicles and technologies,” Carney said.
According to Carney, the renaming of the Mobility Transformation Center to Mcity will have no effects on Mcity’s funding or mission.
“In fact, I think having everything under the one brand more completely shares our mission,” Morton said.
In regard to future projects, Carney and Morton said Mcity plans to continue the research on autonomous vehicles, which they have spent the past years on.
“I don’t think there are any significant changes than working really hard on our plans to continue to execute our deployment plans which include automated vehicles,” Morton said.