Tampa ready to welcome driverless cars

- Buckle in, but no need to hold on here. A Tesla on display at Tuesday's downtown Tampa autonomous car event is one of the latest vehicles to hit the road, hands-free.

Carl Fuqua's ride uses sensors and cameras to detect cars slowing down and speeding up around him. It can even change lanes or parallel park on its own. It was just one of the high-tech rides on display by city, state, and federal leaders pushing for additional resources toward autonomous vehicle infrastructure in the state.

"Our future is pretty bright, but we do need mobility options and the ability to move folks around the community in non-traditional ways," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Tuesday.

Last year, Tampa was awarded a $2.4-million federal grant to test out connected cars on the Crosstown Expressway. The technology developed there is aimed at taking the driverless car movement nationwide to make driving more streamlined and safe.

"Ninety percent of all accidents are due to human error. Florida lost over 2,300 people last year from car accidents. The ability to save those lives is just an incredible opportunity for the state," State Senator Jeff Brandes said.

The exact cost and timeline for generating utility and road infrastructure to support the high-tech way of travel is still unclear.

The Museum of Science and Industry was also on hand at Tuesday's event. They showed off their driverless shuttle, which has transported 60,000 people around MOSI's grounds so far this year.

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