MassRobotics participates in Florida Department of Transportation’s Task Force meeting on Autonomous Vehicles

Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in Robotics | No Comments

While MassDOT regularly hold Autonomous Vehicle Working Group meetings and the City of Boston allows testing of self driving vehicles on roads around MassRobotics, other states are raising the stakes in this emerging field. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Traffic Modeling Division, hosted its annual meeting of the Florida Model Task Force. The topic was Autonomous Vehicles and their impact to travel and trip generation. FDOT invited MassRobotics to discuss autonomous vehicles from an industry perspective.

The house was packed in Orlando for the “Automated Vehicles: An Industry Perspective” keynote presented by Paul Schmitt, MassRobotics Automated Vehicles Director. In the world of automated vehicles, Florida has made several headlines. Florida is viewed as a legislative leader, having been called the “most welcoming place for autonomous vehicles”. No permit is required to operate an AV in Florida. A driver need not be physically present. In fact, Florida’s legislative environment is seen as attractive to AV companies, especially start-ups, looking to raise investment capital by “getting the tech on the road” as quick as possible.

Florida was also the center of the first automated vehicle (SAE Level III) accident and accident investigation, led by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Additionally, Florida requires all cities to include AV opportunities and impacts in all long-term planning.

With this urban planning backdrop, Paul Schmitt presented issues and dialogue at the national level, status of AV technology, expected direction of AV business models, and status/perspectives on proposed Massachusetts legislation.
The message was well received. Here are a few quotes MassRobotics received after the event

  • “I appreciated your discussion on the challenges to implementing AV/CV technology into everyday travel and the industry perspective on developing and advancing new methods to assist commuters in the future.”
  • “Your depth of knowledge, understanding of the issues and ability to present a complicated subject in an interesting format was a cornerstone for the success of our conference.”
  • “Your discussion was timely, insightful and provided an industry perspective that will help our community advance our efforts of forecasting through travel demand models on the adoption and use of autonomous vehicles.”

Thomas Hill, the Systems Transportation Models Manager for the Florida Department of Transportation appreciated Paul’s participation with the Florida Model Task Force. He felt Paul’s discussion “was timely, insightful and provided an industry perspective that will help our community advance our efforts of forecasting through travel demand models the adoption and use of autonomous vehicles.” Mr. Hill also stated “This is the first step of understanding the impacts of AV/CV technologies and the associated changes to travel demand and network congestion. I appreciated your discussion on the challenges to implementing AV/CV technology into everyday travel and the industry perspective on developing and advancing new methods to assist commuters in the future. Your depth of knowledge, understanding of the issues and ability to present a complicated subject in an interesting format was a cornerstone for the success of our conference.”

MassRobotics appreciates the opportunity to contribute to the knowledge and adoption of this game changing technology.