When one thinks of America’s hotbed of technology, Silicon Valley in California is the obvious choice. Companies have, for years, developed and refined various systems and components in this little corner of the world. Google even began testing automated vehicles along its roads and highways, but it’s not the only spot in the American landscape where automotive technology thrives. The city of Tampa, Florida, sectioned off a swath of its major highway designated for testing automated drive systems.
Automakers typically test in the nations that host their headquarters. It is seldom that we get to see luxury brands testing on American streets, but that’s exactly what Audi is doing in Tampa. The German automaker began trying out its first iteration of “Piloted Driving” known as “Traffic Jam Pilot.” This system affords vehicles the capability to control steering, braking, and speed control up to 40 MPH.
“Traffic Jam Pilot” is just one of several automated controls that Audi demonstrated at the last Consumer Electronics Show.
The design of Tampa’s freeway makes it perfect for testing autonomous features. Lanes can be opened during morning and evening rush hours to accommodate drivers; they can also be closed when car manufacturers, like Audi, need space to conduct runs. Florida is currently one of four states with laws regarding the testing of autonomous vehicles – the others are California, Nevada, and Michigan.
“Florida actually has some of the more favorable laws that allow us to test fully among all the states – it’s among the top two states for that,” an Audi spokesperson explained.
There is sure to be plenty of exciting news in the coming months as Audi refines these technologies. We will keep you apprised of new press releases and updates. Out of the many autonomous driving features, which do you think is the most important for safe driving? Leave your comments here with us!