Tampa partnership to host sixth annual Florida Autonomous Vehicles Summit in November

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The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) has announced that it will host the Florida Automated Vehicles Summit for a second year, in partnership with the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida (USF) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

This is the sixth annual Florida AV summit and the second straight year that it is being held in Tampa. The summit runs from November 27-28 at the Marriott Waterside Tampa and will showcase the latest autonomous vehicle technologies, including demonstrations of completely self-driving cars, shuttles, electric vehicles (EVs) and trucks, as well as semi-autonomous vehicles equipped with connected technologies such as lane assistance and real-time traffic information.

During last year’s successful event, attendees were able to ride in a completely driverless passenger shuttle that followed a pre-programmed route through a crowded parking lot. This was followed by a demonstration of how the shuttle’s technology was able to detect and avoid obstacles and then find its way back to the programmed path.

There will also be a full program of conference sessions, with topics including: ACES (automated, connected, electric and shared) mobility, operations, law, infrastructure, functional design, cybersecurity, ethics, aftermarket products, enabling technologies, and public policy. Speakers will include:

• Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, CEO and founder of Starsky Robotics, a driverless truck startup launched in 2016 that aims to make roads safer and enable truck drivers to work closer to home;

• Reilly P Brennan, a founding general partner at Trucks, a seed-stage venture capital fund for transportation entrepreneurs, with investments that include Nauto, nuTonomy, Starsky Robotics, May Mobility, SEEVA, and Roadster;

• Oliver Cameron, co-founder and CEO of Voyage, a startup deploying self-driving taxis into communities around the world.

During the summit, THEA will give an update on its US$17m Connected Vehicle Pilot Project funded through the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). THEA is equipping private passenger vehicles with specialized rearview mirrors that connect to GPS and road sensors along the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway’s reversible express lanes and in downtown Tampa. The goal is to increase pedestrian safety, improve traffic flow and reduce vehicle or pedestrian accidents involving transit by providing real time traffic warnings and updates. THEA is currently the only agency testing such technology with the USDOT using privately owned vehicles.

“The world is moving to shared, electric and self-driving. The implications of this shift will have profound impacts on both government and industry,” noted State Senator Jeff Brandes. “The Florida Automated Vehicles Summit provides Florida’s policy makers and transportation leaders to interact with experts in this field.”

Joe Waggoner, THEA executive director and CEO, said, “By being among the first cities in the nation to test and deploy automated and ACES mobility technologies, Tampa is addressing transportation challenges with 21st century solutions.” 

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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