Each year, the Florida Automated Vehicles (FAV) Summit assembles industry leaders from around the world to address technologies, operations and policy issues. Its mission is to gain insight into what Florida is doing to create the ideal climate for the implementation and deployment of autonomous and connected vehicle technologies.
The Iteris team was excited to be in attendance for the FAV Summit's seventh annual event, which was this year held in Downtown Miami. Topics covered during the three-day event included automated, connected, electric and shared mobility, operations, law, infrastructure, functional design, cyber security, ethics, aftermarket products, enabling technologies, and public policy.
But one thing that wasn't on the agenda was a surprise visit from Governor Ron DeSantis, who opened the 2019 FAV Summit yesterday morning with remarks on Florida’s efforts to embrace innovation and technology to provide opportunities for people in Florida.
Governor DeSantis covered a lot of ground in his remarks, including the states's plans for promoting and funding smart transportation initiatives. These are our three main takeaways from his speech:
- AVs are supported by state legislation
The Governor highlighted Florida’s legislation, which embraces automated vehicles and innovative approaches such as the SunTrax facility to test these technologies. According to Gov. DeSantis, the State of Florida cares about these transportation factors:
• Safety is the primary focus of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
• Relieving congestion hotspots to recover lost productivity is also a focus
• Innovative technologies like automated vehicles that improve safety and relieve congestion.
- EVs will be funded by VW settlement
The Governor stated that Florida will use $24M – the maximum amount available from the VW diesel settlement – to be dedicated to quickly deploy EV infrastructure. EV fast charging will be available at every rest area on Florida’s Turnpike and all across the state.
- Florida's talent pool is one of the richest in the U.S.
Lastly, Gov. DeSantis acknowledged that US News & World Report ranked Florida’s state university system as #1 in the country. These universities are producing the talent pool for the workforce of the future. The Governor sees Florida as ground zero for workforce development and talent generation.
Florida Department of Transportation secretary Kevin Thibault followed the governor and shared that, by the end of 2020, Florida will have 100 intersections broadcasting SPaT messages to connected vehicles. Sec. Thibault added that phase 2 construction work on the SunTrax testing facility would begin shortly.
In summation, the Secretary highlighted that FDOT will be undertaking a smart workzone project to improve safety in construction areas.
From Gov. DeSantis's remarks to Sec. Thibault's continued support for CAV initiatives, I think we can safely say the future of mobility in Florida is in good hands.
About the Author
Pete Costello is associate vice president, Transportation Systems at Iteris.
Connect with Pete on LinkedIn.