Autonomous vehicles in Florida
The state for self-driving cars
Almost overnight, Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America. In the last three months, Voyage, a self-driving taxi service, has begun service in the Villages. Transdev is starting shuttle service in the new autonomous-only community of Babcock Ranch. And Ford announced that Miami will be the test bed for its latest delivery service.
While some may wonder why these sophisticated companies are choosing Florida, for the Florida Chamber of Commerceís Autonomous Florida program the reasons are clear.
First, a pro-business and pro-autonomous regulatory climate, championed by lawmakers like Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Jeff Brandes. While states like California have been increasing regulations, Florida is welcoming them. These efforts have placed Florida in the driverís seat for the coming driverless revolution.
Florida has constructively and properly implemented a statewide regulatory framework rather than a patchwork of local government regulations. Autonomous vehicles need a single statewide standard in the same way that ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft did.
Data is also playing a key role. Autonomous vehicles will produce, analyze and use massive amounts of data, and to prepare for the demand, the Florida Legislature passed a means for the deployment of small cell networks that can bring 5G connections using existing infrastructure.
Finally, partnerships between state and local transportation professionals have been essential. Consider the Jacksonville Transportation Authority and their plans for the Ultimate Urban Circulator, or U2C. Forward-thinking companies are excited to work with forward thinking communities.
These things did not just happen on their own. Policymakers, businesses and professionals have spent years preparing Florida for the next big thing in the global economy. It is exciting that the world is now taking notice.
The writer is the director of infrastructure and governance policy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
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