On March 31 the Polk TPO hosted a Community Forum at
Florida Polytechnic University that focused on how Florida is leading the pack in automated vehicle initatives and what it will take to build smart roads to support a more connected future.
In front of a crowd of nearly 70 people Richard Biter, Assistant Secretary for Intermodal Systems Development at
FDOT, proclaimed “The Jetsons have landed” as he navigated the audience through a presentation that showed just how far the world has come technology wise the last 100 years and what a time warp to 2025 or 2040 might look like.
The consensus, Biter said, among industry leaders and insiders is that the next transportation technology wave is already here, but it’s taking time for the general public to recognize the transition we are already in the midst of.
Biter explained how new technologies are embraced at light speed in the 21
st century, compared to the slow rise of new inventions such as microwaves and central air conditioning during the 20 th century.
Just pull your palm-sized computer, err, phone out of your pocket, and think about how many people had a phone they used for anything more than talking and listening 15 years ago.
The perfect complement to Biter’s snapshot in time of automated vehicles, was a presentation by Stephen Reich, who is the director of the
Automated Vehicle Institute at the Center for Urban Transportation Research, which is located on the campus of the University of South Florida.
Reich explained that automated features already being installed in cars are making roads safer for all, but there is a major distinction between automated technologies and autonomous vehicles.
Automated technologies include features that can be seen on some new model vehicles such as adaptive cruise control, lane centering, forward collision warning and self-parking.
Autonomous vehicles on the other hand refer to vehicles that drive themselves and are programmed to SENSE, PLAN and REACT based on maps, data, cameras, satellites, Bluetooth technologies and more.
The Ledger featured the forum on A1 the next morning and the forum also garnered attention on
Click here to read the story by Ledger Reporter Tom Palmer