ESD Plans Three Exclusive Tech Tours Over The Next Month

SOUTHFIELD — Join The Engineering Society of Detroit for three major members-only tours this spring.

The tour schedule includes the following:

* Thursday, April 23: The University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center (MTC), M City. UM is building M City, a real-world environment simulating cities and highways, to test autonomous and connected vehicle technology. Testing new technologies in a realistic off-roadway environment is an essential step before automated vehicles can be deployed safely on roadways. Working with the Michigan Department of Transportation, UM researchers have designed M City, a test center for evaluating the capabilities of connected and automated vehicles and systems. M City is being built under the auspices of the Mobility Transformation Center, a partnership with industry and government to lay the foundations for a commercially viable ecosystem of connected and automated mobility. A key goal of the UM initiative, which involves researchers from a wide range of disciplines across campus, is to implement a connected and automated mobility system on the streets of southeastern Michigan by 2021. Occupying 32 acres at UM’s North Campus Research Complex, M City simulates the complexities vehicles encounter in urban and suburban environments. It includes four lane-miles of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings, street lights, and obstacles such as construction barriers. The tour begins at 2:30 p.m. with registration and networking, and the tour runs from 3 to 4 p.m. M City is at 2901 Baxter Road, Ann Arbor.

* Thursday, April 30: Sweet Science at Sanders & Morley Candy Co. This tour will give ESD members an up-close look at the science and technology behind the unique form of cooking known as candy making. Even the simplest sugary treat is the product of complex chemistry. The tour will begin with a video journey exploring the story of chocolate, how chocolate is made and how Sanders and Morley Candy Makers got their start in Detroit, Michigan. You’ll hear from a Morley Candy executive who will give expert information on the engineering and science of candy making. Visitors will also enjoy a free candy sample as they watch candy makers create luscious treats as they make their way down the 100 foot observation walkway overlooking the production area. A stop in the unique candy and gift shop puts the finishing touch on the tour. The tour begins with registration and networking at 1 p.m., with the tour from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. The candy factory is at 23770 Hall Road in Clinton Township.

* Thursday, May 14: The Technology Behind Leader Dogs for the Blind. Leader Dogs for the Blind is now a whole lot more than expertly trained dogs that give freedom and mobility to the visually impaired. That’s still its core mission, of course. But Leader Dogs now uses speaking GPS technology as part of its programs. Leader Dogs clients receive and are instructed in the use of a free Trekker Breeze GPS that provides location, direction, street name, nearby points of interest and other information through verbal cues. This technology empowers clients to identify their current location and plan their own travel, rather than relying on others to fill this need. The Trekker Breeze allows people to travel further and explore new destinations and can be used in both cane-aided and guide dog-assisted travel. GPS training is provided to clients from the U.S. and Canada who are participating in Leader Dogs’ Guide Dog Training. Our tour will include video and Q&A with Leader Dogs staff on the nonprofit’s use of GPS technology, a tour of the residential center where clients train with their guide dogs, and — weather and construction progress permitting — a tour of the new Canine Development Center, now under construction. The tour begins with registration and networking at 2 p.m., with the tour from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Leader Dogs is at 1039 S. Rochester Road in Rochester Hills.

All ESD tours are $25 for members. Non-members can join ESD for $75 (a 25 percent discount) and attend the tour for free. (This offer is for new, first-time members only.)

Register online at, or call (248) 353-0735, ext. 222 to register by phone.

If you have questions, contact Matt Roush, ESD Director of Communications and Public Relations, at (248) 353-0735, ext. 112.

ESD is planning more tours for the spring and early summer. Visit often for updates.

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