Florida a testing ground for driverless cars - FOX 13 News

Florida a testing ground for driverless cars

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Get ready for cars that drive you.

You will see more of these so-called driverless cars on our roads, especially here in Florida. We are one of only three states testing them on our roads.

This week, government officials and manufacturers are meeting in Tampa for the Autonomous Car Summit, to build and promote the future of driverless cars.

Transportation secretary Ananth Prasad let one drive him.

"Drove it autonomously on Interstate 10 for 10 to 15 miles," he said.

They have radar, GPS, and lasers to guide them, keep them in their lanes and slow or stop for obstacles.

"The wave is coming and if we don't ride it, we will get swept away by it," said Jason Bittner, who does urban transportation research at the University of South Florida.

You'll find 'some' of that technology in new cars today. There's adaptive cruise control that keeps pace with the car ahead, and guidance that keeps vehicles in the center of their lanes.

The examples that were on display in Tampa Thursday don't come cheap. The prices ranged from $47,000 to $97,000.

But in time, prices should come down, and grids will go up along our roadways.

We already have a test-bed on Interstate 4 in Orlando where cars link to receivers along the interstate.

It's the kind of network that could handle traffic in a few years -- and possibly save lives.

Like in the deadly pile up caused by fog last year along Interstate 75. Autonomous cars would not have been blinded by fog, and could have stopped for roadblocks.

Now state leaders are planning their next move.

"You know, I can't describe it to you now, and that is the biggest reason for this summit," said Joe Waggoner, with the Hillsborough Expressway Authority.

The Autonomous Car Summit runs though Friday, but it is not open to the public. It's designed for government officials and car manufacturers.

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