POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill in Polk County Thursday that will expand testing of autonomous vehicles.
CS/HB 311: Autonomous Vehicles grants permission for the Suntrax auto testing center in Auburndale to expand how they test the autonomous driving technology.
“The world is getting more shared, it’s getting more electric and it’s getting more self driving,” says Senator Jeff Brandes, who supports the bill.
Testing of the system has been happening in Florida over the last few months and lawmakers believe this will bring more jobs to Florida.
Many ask, though, if self-driving cars are safe.
“The fact of the matter is, people are distracted when they drive, so if we get this and it’s right, I think you could have safer roadways, make better use of our existing roads and alleviate traffic,” says Gov. DeSantis.
With technology moving at a rapid pace, how long until we actually see these autonomous driving systems regularly on the roads?
“I don’t think anyone really knows when this technology will be deployed,” says the governor. “Some say by the middle of next decade you’ll start seeing this in full force. Others say it may take longer.”
Regardless of how long it takes, he wants Florida to be prepared. His hope is that other companies that are testing this technology will look at Florida as an opportunity to bring their testing here.