Smart car tech takes test drive in Tampa area

Posted at 5:10 PM, Mar 14, 2016
A pilot program in the Tampa Bay area may help make it safer for commuters, pedestrians and bicyclists.
The Connected Vehicle pilot, courtesy of a federal program, was awarded to the Tampa area by the U.S. Department of Transportation. 
The Connected Vehicle technology would help protect drivers on the roads in numerous ways that include wrong way drivers, traffic, and other important safety conditions in the area of a commuter.
The award was given to Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, and right now the project is in the planning stages. This summer, authorities hope to begin designing how the features will work, with testing of the devices in 2017. 
Bob Frey, planning director for THEA, said the agency is brainstorming about the tools it will need to make the project succeed. 
"That's what the whole connected vehicle pilot program is about. It is to investigate to see how this technology works," Frey said. 
The connected vehicle will essentially be a smart-tool technology that will be implemented in new vehicles getting off the lots. In older vehicles, a potential device would have to be installed. 
Tampa, New York City and Wyoming were all selected for the pilot program. 
The test area will be downtown Tampa near Meridian Avenue. The features will include alerting drivers by communicating with infrastructure, like stop lights. The smart technology would also allow vehicle to vehicle communication. 
For more information on the project, click here.