Cars that could drive without someone behind the wheel was once simply an idea. Now, they are on the way to becoming a reality that people around the world will be able to experience within the next 15 years.
Companies such as Google, Tesla, Ford, Uber and many others are creating and advancing the technology that is changing the motor industry. Many of these companies are taking their pilot vehicles to test in Florida where the state is working to establish itself as the nation’s center for these vehicles.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transportation (HART) is working on projects that include incorporating autonomous city buses and other transportation. It is currently running test programs throughout Tampa and aims to have at least five of its vehicles on the roads in the next few months.
The Villages, one of the largest retirement communities in the country, has plans for a driverless taxi service. A California-based start-up company is bringing its technology to Florida after running a preliminary test at a small retirement community in San Jose, California, last fall. The Village’s aspirations to be creative and technologically advanced, as well as its private roads, create an ideal atmosphere for testing these taxis.
Florida’s Turnpike, Florida Polytech University and the Florida Department of Transportation are part of a business partnership called SunTrax. SunTrax is in the process of building a 400-acre testing facility for research, development and testing in Polk County. It’s expected completion is in spring of 2019. The oval track will be used to test vehicles in different weather and road conditions.
There are many companies that bring their prototypes to Florida for testing. Florida is also making its own name within the industry not only as a destination for testing, but part of the ever-evolving industry. Projects such as these three are just the beginning of integrating driverless vehicles into society.