Florida is now a participant in new automated vehicle initiative

by | Jul 9, 2020

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced Florida as one of its first participants in the Automated Vehicle Transparency and Engagement for Safety Testing (AV TEST) Initiative, a new USDOT-led effort to improve the safety and testing transparency for automated driving systems.

Testing for automated vehicles is happening across the United States. The continuing evolution of automotive technology aims to deliver even greater safety benefits and automated driving systems that one day can handle the whole task of driving when we don’t want to or can’t do it ourselves.

The AV TEST Initiative is another way that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is convening and facilitating initiatives with stakeholders to support the safe development, testing, and integration of automated vehicle technologies in the United States.

“The AV TEST Initiative is a monumental step into the future of automated vehicles, and we are proud Florida is one of the first states to participate in such an important effort led by USDOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “As Florida continues to grow, it is essential to provide a transportation system that meets the needs of our residents and visitors. Florida’s engagement in this initiative shows the continued commitment to improving safety, enhancing mobility and inspiring innovation on our state’s roadways.”

Florida joins seven other states and nine companies in this unprecedented effort which will involve nationwide public events and an online, public-facing platform to increase public engagement and awareness, promote safety and innovation and strengthen relationships between federal, state and local government partners.

The other participating states are California, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah. The nine companies include Beep, Cruise, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Local Motors, Navya, Nuro, Toyota, Uber, and Waymo.

In 2019, Florida signed the AV legislation into law to encourage the testing, implementation, and deployment of emerging technologies.

FDOT recognizes the development and testing of automated driving systems are important for improving safety and enhancing mobility for all road users. The department is also in the process of constructing SunTrax, the first state-owned autonomous vehicle testing facility in the country, which is estimated to be completed in late 2021.

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