Lee County prepares for the first self-driving vehicle on the roadway

Self-driving car moves along the roadway. (Credit: WINK News)
Self-driving car moves along the roadway. (Credit: WINK News)

A handful of automakers and technology giants are already making and testing self-driving cars. While driving effectively on a test track or an empty road is excellent, traveling through heavy traffic like we are used to in Southwest Florida can complicate the most sophisticated algorithms.

Brian Hamman, Lee County commissioner, wants to apply these technologies to improve traffic flow.

“Traffic out there is gridlock right now,” Hamman said. “We’re looking at everything we can to try and solve that congestion issue and if autonomous vehicles can help, then we want to make sure that we are ready for.”

Hamman will allocate $400,000 for a consultant firm to determine what Lee County must do to be ready for self-driving vehicles.

“Are there things that we need to do to change our street signs, to change the striping on the road to make sure that the vehicles can sense the different road conditions around town so that when they are here, they operate safely?” Hamman said.

Drivers today have mixed feelings on self-driving cars.

“I don’t think I would personally,” Mark Hibbard said. “I like driving a car for one.”

“I think it’s a nice concept to not have to drive,” Bill Turner said. “You still have to be attentive I think, but I think it would be much more relaxing.”

Anyone who drives knows orange barrels and flashing lights and detours are commonplace in the name of progress. Will the cars and the roads of the future, make it safer and easier to get around?

“It probably be safer because I think some of these automatons would be better than some of these drivers in Florida,” Turner said.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.