The City of Orlando Forms Partnership to Seek National Automated Vehicle Designation
Central Florida Could Become Hotbed for Vehicle Technology to be Deployed Around the World
January 19, 2017 – ORLANDO, FL – The City of Orlando is proud to announce that it has partnered with several local academic, private sector and government agencies to form the Central Florida Automated Vehicle (AV) Partnership. The Partnership has been working over the past several weeks on the development of a proposal that could have the Central Florida region designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) as an Automated Vehicle (AV) Proving Ground.
If selected, this designation would make Central Florida one of the nation’s premier clusters for research and development of automated vehicle technology across all modes of travel. Joining with other designated entities to share best practices, Central Florida will provide the foundation for this new technology and its safe testing, demonstration and deployment.
The Partnership’s proposal involves research and simulation at some of the area’s most state-of-the-art universities, including the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Florida Polytechnic University (Florida Poly), as well as safety and policy compliance review with Florida A&M University-Florida State University (FAMU-FSU) Colleges of Law.
Additionally, the proposal specifically outlines 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.
USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx is expected to announce the selected entities it will designate as Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds in the first quarter of 2017.
Central Florida AV Partnership Members:
- 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
- NASA, Kennedy Space Center
Commitments of Support from the Central Florida Community:
- MetroPlan Orlando
- Orange County
- Greater Orlando Aviation Authority
- Osceola County
- Polk County
- Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization
- Florida Department of Transportation
A copy of the proposal can be found here.