Orlando to be testing ground for new driverless car technology

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PHOTO VIS U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
  • Photo vis U.S. Department of Transportation
Sick of driving in I-4 traffic? Well, pretty soon, Orlandoans might not even need to touch a steering wheel to navigate the Central Florida highways.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday that Central Florida has been selected to provide a proving ground pilot site to test new automated vehicle technologies. (Anyone remember this scene from Minority Report?)

These proving ground plans include a new transportation technology testing facility, called SunTrax, on a 400-acre site in Polk County that will include a simulated downtown urban core to test vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle interactions with automated vehicles.

The Kennedy Space Center will provide a second testing facility where research can be conducted on extreme weather conditions and unusual roadway conditions.

Eventually, roads like the I-4, SR 540 and SR 528 will provide the automated vehicles with all the crazy driver, construction heavy real roadway experience.

LYNX’s LYMMO Orange line in Downtown Orlando will also test the use of automated shuttles and automated shared-use vehicles.

Back in Nov. 2016, the City of Orlando partnered with several local academic, private sector and government agencies to form the Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partnership.

The members of the partnership include:
  • City of Orlando
  • University of Central Florida
  • Florida Polytechnic University
  • FAMU-FSU College of Engineering
  • Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise
  • Florida Department of Transportation, Districts 5 and 1
  • Central Florida Expressway
  • Lynx
  • NASA, Kennedy Space Center
This partnership submitted a proposal to the DOT outlining research and simulation done by local universities and safety and policy procedures that would be put in place for testing.

The Central Florida AV is now one of 10 designees chosen out of more than 60 applicants that will work together to share research around safe testing to advance the development of these new types of technology.

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