Florida Poly plans driverless-car test track

- Cutting-edge research on driverless cars is going to be conducted in Polk County.  Monday, Florida’s Turnpike and Florida Polytechnic University broke ground on SunTrax, a new 400-acre research park in Auburndale, just off Braddock Road.

At the ceremony, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam referred to driverless vehicles as “as one of the most transformational inventions in our country.”

“Imagine a world,” he said, “where the question is not how to allow driverless vehicles on the road, but at what point do we ban drivers.”

Florida Poly students will be working with experienced researchers on a number of different projects, including how to make driverless vehicles safer and more efficient. They will also be looking into other transportation issues, like how to make cars more manageable when driving on wet roads, and improving the toll system.

Experts predict that crashes may be reduced up to 90 percent when driverless cars take over the roads in the future.

SunTrax, which is expected to be up and running by the winter of 2019, is a big feather in the cap of Polk County and the state of Florida economically.

“SunTrax will serve as the catalyst to secure Florida’s future as a leader in what’s predicted to be an $87-billion industry in automated transportation technology,” Florida Polytechnic University President Dr. Randy Avent proclaimed from the podium. 

“As a guy who can’t even get high-speed internet in Bartow,” added Putnam, “I am kind of looking forward to see how this all works.”

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