The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) today announced the second phase of construction for America’s newest autonomous vehicle test facility will begin this fall. Slated to be completed in late 2021, phase two of SunTrax will consist of areas built in its infield to test and challenge autonomous vehicles.
“In order for Florida to have a modern transportation system that meets the needs of our residents, businesses and visitors, we must embrace emerging technology,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Once completed, SunTrax will further strengthen Florida’s position as a national leader in automated vehicle testing and research.”
SunTrax will also feature various segmented testing environments, including:
- An urban area to simulate intersection configurations and signalization;
- A roadway geometry track made up of complex horizontal and vertical curves;
- A pick-up/drop-off area to replicate multimodal passenger transfers, such as airports; and
- An augmented reality pad to create immersive, computer-generated environments.
“As Florida’s population continues to grow, it is essential to expand our transportation system to meet current and future needs,” said Florida Department of Transportation Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “We are proud to be home to the first state-owned autonomous vehicle testing facility in the country. By investing in research, testing and development of autonomous vehicles at SunTrax, Florida will continue to break the mold in multimodal transportation.”
Shipping containers will be used to create flexible and reconfigurable facades simulating city-like buildings in the facility’s infield. Phase one of SunTrax, a 2.25-mile oval track on 475 acres in Polk County, Florida, was completed in May 2019. SunTrax is being developed by FDOT. When fully operational, the facility’s test sectors will be available for lease to companies working in the connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) industry-from technology start-ups to established equipment manufacturers.
In January, Governor DeSantis and FDOT Secretary Thibault visited the SunTrax construction site as Governor DeSantis outlined his vision for the state’s transportation system, which include priorities to improve safety, reduce congestion and embrace innovative technology. This summer, Governor DeSantis selected SunTrax as the backdrop for the signing of House Bill 311, which amends existing laws to allow for expanded use of self-driving vehicles on Florida roads.
To learn more about SunTrax and to inquire about testing opportunities at the facility’s track, visit suntraxfl.com.