UPDATE: A few hours after this post went live the City of Orlando learned that they had been selected as one of the ten official Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds in the country, by the U.S. Department of Transportation. To see the other cities selected, click HERE.
The City of Orlando just announced the birth of a locally-steered Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partnership that will be working to have Central Florida designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation as an Automated Vehicle Proving Ground.
The partnership members include the 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, and Kennedy Space Center.
The designation would make the region one of the nation’s primary clusters for research and development of the new technology.
According to the release, the proposal involves the following proposed “test track” facilities:
- SunTrax: a long-term partnership between the Florida Department of Transportation’s Florida Turnpike Enterprise and Florida Polytechnic University to construct a new transportation technology testing facility, including a 2.25-mile, oval track designed for high-speed travel and multiple lanes on a 400-acre site in Polk County, centrally located between Tampa and Orlando. The vision for SunTrax includes the build-out of multiple environments, including a simulated downtown urban core, to test transit, vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle interactions with AVs.
- NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC): will provide the second controlled testing facility, which offers the ideal contained environment with a vast roadway network and secure access. KSC can conduct controlled extreme environment testing for significant weather events and unusual roadway conditions.
- Public highways, roadways and transit: environments like the I-4, SR 540 and SR 528 corridors will provide AVs exposure to complex roadways with varying sections, ingress and egress merging operations, construction operations, both freight and passenger vehicles, work zone safety applications, express bus operations and highway maintenance operations. Transit testing on LYNX’s LYMMO Orange line in Downtown Orlando would explore the use of automated shuttles and automated shared-use vehicles.
Click HERE to read the proposal in full.
Watch the video below to get a look at how autonomous public transit would work.