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 www.autonomous-florida.com.




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 www.FLChamber.com for more information. 136 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301

Solidifying Florida’s Role in Trade and Logistics


Download One Pager    Learn More Our International Program    Trade & Logistics 2.0 Report


Why It Matters to Florida

If Florida were a country, we would have the 16th largest economy in the world. Florida is not just competing with other states, we are competing with other countries. This speaks to the need to continuing to focus on diversifying our economy and markets of opportunity is an important strategy for success and continued growth. Florida is well positioned to not only benefit from international trade but play a pivotal role in new and emerging trade lanes. Eighty percent of the world’s purchasing power, 90 percent of economic growth, and 95 percent of consumers will live outside of U.S. borders. By 2030:

  • The volume of global goods trade and the value of services trade is expected to nearly double.
  • The world’s population will increase to 8.4 billion.

Florida’s GDP is fueled by trade. Florida is the seventh-largest export state in the U.S., with $52 billion in exports originating from Florida in 2016. Exporting is big business in Florida – 60,000 Florida companies export and we have the second highest concentration of exporters behind California. Economic development in areas such as international trade, sea port, manufacturing, aerospace, aviation and other targeted clusters is tied directly to innovation, diversification and how well Florida can adapt to growing and changing trends.

Florida’s Competitiveness Agenda

According to the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Trade and Logistics 2.0 Report, Florida can create more than 150,000 high-wage jobs by growing manufacturing, exports and trade and logistics. In order to take advantage of changing trade routes, a historic expansion of the Panama Canal, and targeted infrastructure investments, we must continue to leverage and grow opportunities.

Strengthening Florida’s rapidly growing manufacturing industry will be the key to ensuring a robust global future. The Florida Chamber supports initiatives that encourage growth in the manufacturing, trade and logistics industries as well as assist Florida companies be more competitive and have greater access in the global marketplace. The Florida Chamber will also continue to support strategic investments in our trade infrastructure, work to build a “talent supply chain” for trade, logistics and manufacturing workers and ensure an ongoing strategic presence in Washington, D.C. – advocating and positioning Florida for a leadership role at the federal level.

The Fight for Free Enterprise Continues

In order to become the number one state in the nation for innovation and economic development, we must continue to attract and retain high-skilled talent, target growing industries and continue to work toward the recommendations set forth in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Trade and Logistics 2.0 Report.

Act Now

Learn how you can become involved in the Florida Chamber’s International efforts by contacting Alice Ancona at aancona@flchamber.com and Dan Tapia at dtapia@flchamber.com or visit www.FloridaChamber.com/InternationalProgram.

Join Transportation Sec. Mike Dew for a Discussion About the Future of Florida’s Infrastructure

What Does the Future of Florida’s Infrastructure Look Like?

Please join the Florida Chamber of Commerce as we continue the discussion about Florida’s future during our Statewide Board of Governors webinar on Monday, October 23 at 2:00 p.m. Joining us for this month’s webinar is:

  • Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Mike Dew, who will share what FDOT is focusing on, the upcoming legislative session and provide his insight on Florida’s continuing preparation with Autonomous Vehicles,
  • Rob Palmer, RS&H, lead researcher on the Infrastructure and Growth Leadership pillar for the Florida 2030 project, who will provide an update on their research, and
  • Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist for the Florida Chamber Foundation, who will review the most recent job numbers and provide an update on the state of the economy.

The Florida Chamber is committed to leading the charge to unite Florida’s business community to improve our state’s infrastructure and prepare for future growth. Do not miss this opportunity to LEARN, ENGAGE, and be a part of the SOLUTION. To register today – contact Greg Blose at (850) 521-1243.

The Florida Chamber Foundation has moved into “Phase 2” of Florida 2030, our two-year, $1.5 million research initiative to write Florida’s next strategic plan, and we’re inviting your management team to help us write it. We encourage you to invite members of your management team, Board of Directors, local chambers of commerce and Economic Development Councils who would benefit from this valuable discussion.

Drive the Discussion:

Do you have a question for FDOT Secretary Mike Dew? Email your questions to Greg Blose and we will work them in to our conversation.