Autonomous Vehicle Testing Begins

The Gainesville Sun, February 3, 2020

A long-awaited pilot project launched Monday in Gainesville — but this time there is no pilot. The University of Florida and the Florida Department of Transportation have partnered to bring the first autonomous vehicle to the city of Gainesville. Community members were invited to a Monday morning ribbon-cutting ceremony and an inaugural test ride of the shuttle, running between the Southwest Third Street parking garage to Innovation Square near Southwest Second Avenue.

Read More in The Gainesville Sun.

House Takes Important Step on Transportation Bill


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On March 28, a Florida Chamber-backed infrastructure and growth bill that mirrors recommendations from the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition Report, passed the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.

PCB TTA 19-02 is the House companion bill to SB 7068, a top priority bill for Senate President Bill Galvano. The bill would create new transportation corridors, connect Florida’s rural communities to the metro areas, and plan for new transportation technologies such as autonomous vehicles.

Budget allocations have also been released by the Florida House and Senate, and both chambers have recommended over $10.7 billion for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Both allocations are within the Department of Transportation budget recommendations and would include Hurricane Michael relief to Northwest Florida and common road repairs. This marks another year of over $10 billion allocated to the FDOT.

The Florida Chamber thanks the House and the Senate for prioritizing infrastructure investments to help ensure Florida is prepared for 26 million residents by 2030.

Join the Infrastructure Coalition

The Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition is dedicated to creating long-term investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, and rural infrastructure. Click here to join the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition and learn how we are doubling down on efforts to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities through infrastructure investments.

Florida Chamber Bottom Line: TÜV SÜD Is at the Forefront of Technological Advances


Autonomous Florida


“Our mission is to enable the safe adoption of technology”

In the latest Florida Chamber Bottom Line, we sat down with John Tesoro, President and CEO of TÜV SÜD America, Inc. to discuss TÜV SÜD’s laboratories, autonomous vehicles and what the adoption of future advancements mean for Florida’s businesses.

“Our mission is to enable the safe adoption of technology,” said Tesoro. “So, we have over 25,000 experts globally, 1,500 of whom are here in the United States… many of them are housed in our laboratories, in fact we have 19 labs in North and South America and one of those labs is in Tampa, Florida.”


Join the Autonomous Revolution

With its favorable regulatory climate and more than 126 million annual visitors, Florida is uniquely prepared to be at the cutting edge of the autonomous revolution. The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Autonomous Florida program brings together businesses, industry experts, and policymakers to secure Florida’s autonomous future. Click here to learn more.

Moving Florida Forward


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Why It Matters to Florida

The Florida Chamber Foundation estimates more than 26 million residents are expected to call Florida home by 2030. In fact, Florida is the third most populous state in the nation. That means there will be approximately three million new Florida drivers commuting on our roads. Along with the more than 126 million visitors that came to Florida last year, it’s estimated that there will be more than three million daily vehicle miles added to Florida roads by 2030.

In addition to highways, Florida also moves people and goods along a complex system of railways, seaports, airports and space ports, all interconnected to provide services and goods that grow our economy. Whether it’s the more than 1,000 miles of coastlines and more than 3,000 miles of highways, Florida’s transportation infrastructure relies on capable investments in order to keep our economy flowing and keep Floridians safe.

State and private-sector investments in Florida’s transportation infrastructure are vital for future economic growth in the global trade sector. Transportation and infrastructure needs also require special training for intermodal transportation and logistics jobs so Florida’s workforce is prepared to accommodate Florida’s growing population.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

Public-private partnerships ensure our state can invest in addressing the infrastructure needs key to meeting the demands of a growing population.

The Florida Chamber will keep fighting to prevent attempting raids to the State Transportation Trust Fund for non-transportation purposes. The future health and prosperity of all Floridians is advanced with creating and maintaining sustainable and reliable infrastructure systems.

We also believe that supporting innovative business sectors like ridesharing and autonomous vehicles with consistent regulatory frameworks will help to diversity Florida’s economy and help our state’s growing transportation needs while also ensuring public safety.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

While several updates to Florida’s transportation system are currently underway in Florida’s major cities, we must continue to stay focused on creating transportation systems and infrastructure that safely transport valuable cargo, from our Florida grown crops to our children and families.

Act Now

Join the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition‘s efforts to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities and double down on efforts to prepare for Florida’s growing population through infrastructure investments.

Florida Is Embracing the Future of Autonomy

With our strong growth and attractive business climate, Florida needs to plan for tomorrow’s future today. By 2030, the Florida Chamber Foundation estimates that Florida will have another five million new people that call our state home, three million new drivers on our roadways, and tens of millions of new devices that will plug into our data network. As these technologies grow in number and complexity, the amount of data each individual uses will also increase dramatically.

In addition to the forces that we are familiar with, Florida is leading the charge on the adoption of autonomous vehicles. The Florida Chamber of Commerce has boldly declared their intent to make Florida the autonomous capital of the world. With our good laws on the books and openness to innovation, Florida has already welcomed six self-driving vehicle deployments across the state in places like Miami, Gainesville, Babcock Ranch, and the Villages. These new and transformational technologies have the potential to save thousands of lives and safely transport millions of goods and services, while unlocking incredible job opportunities for Floridians. But each of these vehicles will also create and use a tremendous amount of data.

Fortunately, private-sector businesses have created a solution: compact devices with incredible data capacity over a smaller range called “small cells.” These devices, working as a system, are the next generation of communications infrastructure. Companies in Florida are already installing small cells, but this 5G deployment is not happening fast enough to ensure Florida is able to cement its position as a global leader.

Simply put, in order for Florida to remain a leader in autonomous vehicles, smart devices, and the next generation of jobs, we must continue to push for the deployment of 5G across Florida. To make that happen, network carriers, infrastructure builders and local leaders must partner together to bring 5G to Florida.

Earlier this month, business leaders, industry experts and elected officials gathered for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2018 Florida Growth & Infrastructure Summit, where Florida’s future infrastructure needs and solutions were discussed. Leaders took a deep dive into the role innovation plays in Florida’s future. In partnership with the Society of Automotive Engineers, the summit also offered experiences to the public to take a drive in an autonomous vehicle and interact with the next generation of virtual reality.

In order for Florida to embrace these new technologies and future growth, we must build the digital highways of the future. That starts with more small cells.


Chris Emmanuel, Director of Infrastructure and Governance Policy, Florida Chamber of Commerce

Malcolm Eve is Crown Castle’s Public Affairs Manager for the South Area and serves on the Florida Chamber of Commerce (Infrastructure Coalition-Chair of the Economic Prosperity Work Group).  Crown Castle owns, operates and leases more than 40,000 cell towers and approximately 65,000 route miles of fiber supporting small cells and fiber solutions across every major US market. This nationwide portfolio of communications infrastructure connects cities and communities to essential data, technology and wireless service – bringing information, ideas and innovations to the people and businesses that need them.


Florida Chamber of Commerce Unveils ‘Autonomous Florida’

Connecting Business Advocates to Make Florida the Autonomous Capital of North America

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 27, 2018) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today announced a new chapter in Florida’s leadership in autonomous vehicles: Autonomous Florida. This innovative program will build on the business community’s successes to position Florida as the state to research, deploy, and grow the next chapter of transportation mobility.


“Florida is nationally known for its welcoming approach to autonomous vehicles, and uniquely positioned to be the leader in autonomous transportation. The Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida program will seize that opportunity and help ensure Florida continues to set the pace for autonomous deployment,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.


Chaired by Syd Kitson, CEO of Kitson & Partners and the visionary behind the automated community of Babcock Ranch (in partnership with Transdev), the Florida Chamber launched its Autonomous Florida program this week during a statewide meeting featuring:

  • Senator Jeff Brandes
  • Grayson Brulte, President and Co-Founder, Brulte & Company
  • Christopher Spencer, Government Consultant, GrayRobinson
  • Rob Palmer, Planning/Mobility Leader, RS&H, Inc.


“It’s an incredibly exciting time in transportation, and the Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida program will be the tip of the spear, uniting Florida’s businesses behind this transformational opportunity,” KITSON said.


Autonomous Florida will help educate Floridians about the autonomous revolution — providing a range of learning opportunities including vehicle demonstrations. The first demo day will take place May 8-11 in Tampa, and is hosted in corporation with Society of Automative Engineers International, and in partnership with industry leaders and local government.

Additionally, Autonomous Florida will actively support efforts to ensure Florida’s regulatory climate provides a business-friendly environment for autonomous deployment.


“As we prepare Florida for the future, Florida’s businesses must be united. These new technologies have the potential to save thousands of lives, safely transport millions of goods and services, and unlock incredible opportunities for state,” said CHRISTOPHER EMMANUEL, a Florida Chamber Policy Director, who will serve as the Director of Autonomous Florida.

Learn more about the Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida program by visiting




Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as crucial to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit for more information. 136 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301

Support HB 353, Autonomous Vehicles


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On November 8, 2017 the Florida Chamber of Commerce urged the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee to support HB 353 – Autonomous Vehicles.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support HB 353, relating to Autonomous Vehicles. This bill, which is sponsored by Representative Jason Fischer, will be heard on November 8th, 2017, in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.

In order to meet Florida’s 21st century transportation needs, we must be open to new types of industries that use cutting edge, and often disruptive, technologies. We also must find transportation solutions to help welcome in the projected 5.5 million new residents by 2030 and the millions of additional tourists expected over the coming years. This legislation helps prepare Florida for the next generation of mobility because it:

  • Creates more regulatory certainty for the technologies that connected vehicles will use on Florida roads; and
  • Prioritizes passenger and pedestrian safety while fostering innovation.

The Florida Chamber urges you to support HB 353, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs
Florida Chamber of Commerce