ORLANDO, Fla. — Driverless cars are technology being honed in Central Florida, and regional economic development leaders are showing them off at the Automated Vehicles Symposium.
- Central Florida is a hotbed for autonomous vehicle technology
- Experts are gathering at Orlando World Center Marriott this week
- Orlando Economic Partnership pitching benefits of doing business here
"We have the expertise and depth of talent that's going to be able to help companies scale in the autonomous vehicle industry," said Sheena Fowler, vice president of innovation at Orlando Economic Partnership. "(Our) goal is to make sure the world understands we are a leader in this industry."
Automated vehicle experts are descending upon the Orlando World Center Marriott this week, checking out exhibits, listening to speakers, and making connections.
"Companies seeking to expand in this space need to know which communities have the resources that they need to scale and grow. This is our fresh foot forward to make sure they understand what we have," Fowler said.
In order to recruit companies that bring high-wage jobs, OEP is touting home-grown success stories such as microelectronics sensor lab BRIDG in Osceola County, and SunTrax, the new automated vehicle-testing facility in Polk County.
Luminar, a company born in Silicon Valley, decided to scale its business in Orange County; its co-founder, Jason Eichenholz, is a University of Central Florida graduate.
His company makes LiDAR technology — light detection and ranging — which helps automated vehicles "see."
"They were able to come here, take LiDAR technology, and commercialize it to help create 'eyes' for the vehicles. So we can now have even more transparency in how far the sensors can see," Fowler said.
In addition to touting wins when it comes to this type of technology, OEP says it's pitching the other benefits of doing business in the Orlando area, from low taxes to the talent pipeline.
The region was also designated as one of 10 testing grounds in the country for automated vehicles.
In June, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill bolstering AV technology and development, using SunTrax as his backdrop.