First Public Self-Driving Car Demonstration Day with SAE International

For three days starting Wednesday, May 9, through Friday, May 11, the public will be invited to take a ride in a self-driving car from Perrone Robotics on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway with SAE International, Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) and State Senator Jeff Brandes. The inaugural SAE Demo Day is an opportunity for the public to experience self-driving technology and share their feedback about the ride.

SAE International seeks to understand the public’s attitude toward self-driving technology through this event. Riders will be asked questions before, during and after the ride about their perception and their comfort level with autonomous vehicles. The information gathered will allow SAE International to identify areas to improve public education and understanding of autonomous vehicles.

“Public comfort and acceptance of self-driving vehicles is crucial for their success, both in the near-term of testing and the future of widespread use,” says SAE International Chief Product Officer, Frank Menchaca. “SAE International serves as a convener, working with technology companies, auto manufacturers and government to safely advance autonomous vehicle development. This demo day brings the most important audience to the dialogue, the public,” adds Menchaca.   

“THEA is excited to welcome SAE International to Tampa and to be able to partner with them on this event.  From our real-time testing of connected vehicle technology to our award-winning reversible express lanes, THEA continues to drive the conversation on cutting-edge transportation solution for the Tampa Bay region,” said Joe Waggoner CEO, THEA.

"I am incredibly grateful that SAE International is bringing this self-driving "hands off" demo to Tampa Bay. Our residents will be able to experience the future of transportation and provide feedback that will be invaluable to industry leaders and policy makers as we chart a course towards the shared, electric, and autonomous future," said Senator Jeff Brandes.

“We are very pleased to support SAE International in this effort”, said Dave Hofert, CMO of Perrone Robotics. “Our company mission is to enable broad-based autonomous mobility of all kinds and we believe that public engagement will drive awareness and acceptance of these vehicles. Through this demo, people will experience autonomous driving and can better make informed decisions about how autonomy could fit into their lives.”

“At Velodyne LiDAR, we’re very excited to support this event, it is extremely relevant for the progress of autonomous driving. We take great interest in educating the public, and contributing to the general understanding of the technology and its multiple benefits” said Mircea Gradu, Velodyne’s SVP Quality and Validation, and SAE International President.

Interested riders can visit the sign up page to reserve their ride. Members of the media are invited for a preview on Tuesday, May 8 at 9:45am at the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority. There will be experts available to speak about the importance of public acceptance and education in the development of new transportation technology. Additionally, participants can experience a Velodyne LiDAR Virtual Reality environment, and interact with a Voyage self-driving car.

            Media day:   Tuesday, May 8 starting at 9:45am

RSVP:  Madeline Patterson

Public demo days:   Wednesday, May 9 – Friday, May 10, by appointment

Location: Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority

1104 East Twiggs Street; Tampa, FL 33602

SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting over 127,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™.

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