Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Audi to let driverless car loose on Selmon Expressway (video)

TAMPA — Elevated commuter lanes on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway will close for hours in the coming days so Audi can offer demonstrations of its latest driverless car.

The expressway that connects downtown Tampa and Brandon is one of just 10 approved sites nationwide where researchers can study the safety and performance of automated vehicles. Florida is one of three states that allow self-driving cars to be tested on public roads.

The tollway's reversible lanes will be closed Sunday to traffic during nonpeak hours for testing, and Monday for demonstrations put on by the German car company.

The company hasn't decided yet how it will choose people to try out its car. But those drivers shouldn't expect to speed down the expressway while occupied with other tasks like reading a book or checking a smartphone.

Instead, a traffic jam will be re-created with several other vehicles to test the automated car's sensor capabilities. Plus, the driverless car is unable to direct itself at speeds greater than 40 mph, said Bradley Stertz, a communications manager for Audi.

Audi has joined the race to develop an automated car with the most advanced technology. Its latest model, the Sport Quatro Laserlight, was unveiled at a show in April. It boasts computer technology the size of an iPad.

"It looks like a regular car but with technology built into it," Stertz said. "You wouldn't know the difference when you see it riding down the road."

Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will attend Monday and get an opportunity to catch a ride, Sterz said.

Contact Liz Crampton at [email protected] or (813) 226-3401. Follow @liz_crampton.

>>fast facts

Lanes to close

The elevated reversible lanes of the Selmon Expressway will close to traffic from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday. On both days, the gates at Meridian Avenue and at 34th Street will be closed. The gates at the U.S. 301 ramp will be open for eastbound traffic.

Audi to let driverless car loose on Selmon Expressway (video) 07/24/14 [Last modified: Friday, July 25, 2014 7:26am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Donald Trump calls for NFL to set a rule forbidding players from kneeling during national anthem


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is up and tweeting, and his target is the NFL.

    The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday in Glendale, Ariz. [AP photo]
  2. Tampa International named among least expensive airports


    TAMPA — Florida airports apparently have a knack for getting it done cheaply.

    According to RewardExpert, Tampa International Airport is the fifth least expensive domestic airport. 
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
 file photo]

  3. What Hurricane Maria taught me about the people of Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN — After Hurricane Maria took their roof, water and electricity — but spared their chickens — Ana De Jesús and Santiago Quiñones packed a few basics and moved across the street into their windowless beachside kiosk.

    Ismael Freytes, 69, removes muddy debris as he tries to clean out his house in Arecibo, where the local river poured into the streets after Hurricane Maria. [CARL JUSTE?| Miami Herald]
  4. Anna Maria City Pier to close for year after 'extensive damage' from Hurricane Irma


    ANNA MARIA — While Hurricane Irma's last-minute shift helped spare large swaths of Florida cities from catastrophic damage, the Anna Maria City Pier didn't fare so well.

    A damage assessment following Hurricane Irma suggests repairs for the Anna Maria City Pier can take at least 12 months. [LUIS SANTANA for Visit Florida]
  5. Photo of the Day for September 26, 2017 - Flying gecko on glass

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Wayne Rayburn of Tarpon Springs, FL. He calls it "Flying gecko on glass."