More widespread application of emerging technologies to promote connected and autonomous vehicles are still far in the future is t he reality despite some of the hype that was used to argue for the construction of new toll roads through rural Florida corridors.
That was one of the important takeaways from the latest webinar designed to advance the discussion of plans to build a network of toll roads from the edge of the Everglades to the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp.
Another takeaway was implementing this technology, which is the focus of a lot of public and privately funded research, will be expensive.
That’s because the infrastructure along with the support system—maintenance, power supplies, staffing, technology upgrades—all carry high capital and operating costs.
Additionally, the technology is still perhaps 15 years away from being fully developed, a webinar expert explained.
The big picture idea behind this effort is to create a system that helps traffic to move more smoothly and safely, though there was an admission that all of the technology being considered cannot totally overcome the variability of human behavior.
Meanwhile, a report in today’s New York Times reveals that research on this technology is facing additional delays because of the coronavirus epidemic because it prevents two people from occupying a vehicle to conduct some of the testing. There is no word on when conditions will allow that kind of hands-on research to resume.
Finally, though the discussion of this new technology, similar to an earlier technical presentation of expanding fiber networks for broadband, did a good job of explaining the benefits of the new technology, it never really presented a convincing argument about why spending $10 billion for this new road network is vital for advancing either technology.
Following the formal presentations, critics once again criticized the use of the webinar format because it is less transparent and has created a situation where some staff discussions are occurring out of public view without providing an opportunity to comment.