The autonomous vehicle test track in Polk County, Fla.

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Move over Daytona International Speedway. In case you haven’t heard, a 2.25-mile asphalt oval is in town – and this one won’t require drivers. 🏎️ 

Located in Auburndale off of I-4, SunTrax’s autonomous vehicle test track project aims to advance technology solutions and improve the safety + efficiency of transportation.

Vehicular innovation is nothing new to the Sunshine State. Just last month, Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill at the facility that would expand the testing + use of autonomous vehicles, placing Florida among the leading states in the U.S. for self-driving vehicle research. 

Over the next few months, we’re going to keep you up-to-date on the innovation surrounding SunTrax, including the technology, its connection with the city, and more. 

To catch you up, here’s an update on the track’s progress: 

  • SunTrax finished its initial $42 million construction (paid by Florida Turnpike) earlier this year + started real-world testing, utilizing land owned by the Florida Department of Transportation. 
  • Over the next two years, the 200-acre area will be transformed into a simulated city – complete with moveable shipping container buildings, a downtown environment, and lots of asphalt. Meaning one day the site could be designed with six-story buildings + the next day, transformed into a one-story building with wood fronts
  • Phase III of the project (to be completed by 2024) will employ a sensor test chamber that simulates rain, smoke, and fog to help researchers learn more about the technology surrounding guiding autonomous vehicles. An observation tower for better test visuals + a main entry campus with a 20,000 sq. ft. welcome center are also to be expected. 

Question

– LALtoday team (Jessica + Kaylee)