Florida Poly hopes to change future of transportation with new research center

Image 1 of 2

Florida Polytechnic is merging into the business of driverless cars.

The school has formed the Advanced Mobility Institute, or AMI, which will be manned by researchers working to make unmanned vehicles a widespread reality.

“It is looking at how to verify that these things really work and they work robustly in all types of environments,” said Dr. Randy Avent, the university’s president.

Dr. Avent says right now, driverless vehicles work most of the time, but sometimes they make mistakes.

“The question is, how do we identify those rare cases so that we can go in and make sure they work in those rare cases?” he said.

Let’s say an autonomous vehicle is going down a road and there is a bicyclist ahead.

“[The vehicle needs] to pay attention to it and make sure that you steer the car from that particular thing,” said Avent.

For that to happen, sensors have to take in visual data and send it to the cars brain which uses artificial intelligence to analyze the situation and make a decision about what to do.

The Advanced Mobility Institute is working with Suntrax which is building a two and a half mile test track for driverless vehicles in Auburndale. Suntrax is under the auspices of the Florida Turnpike Enterprise.

Florida Poly is also offering a new course on driverless vehicles. It was developed in conjunction with MIT.