Florida’s largest retirement community is about to become a proving ground for the biggest trial run of self-driving cars to date. Silicon Valley startup Voyage, which hopes to become a national self-driving taxi business, will begin providing a driverless (sort of) taxi service in The Villages in coming weeks.
The Villages, an over-55 community north of Orlando, is one of the biggest retirement enclaves in the country. Some of its more than 125,000 residents will soon be able to say “Look. No hands!” as they travel the community’s 750 miles of roads. The tech company chose The Villages partly because its active residents frequent three downtown areas. People who live there make many short trips, the kind ideal for a taxi service. Voyage says that driverless cars would make such trips much less expensive.
Self-Driving Cars Convenient for Elderly
The Villages has a reputation for a lively and active population, but driving doesn’t suit everyone. Some people have health problems which keep them from getting behind the wheel. Voyage has had success with another, smaller, retirement community in California. The company says that autonomous transportation helps those with conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and those who can’t see well enough to drive anymore.
Voyage is a technology company. They do not build cars. They adapt existing vehicles with computer equipment and sensors that allow the car to navigate without a driver. Modified Ford Fusions, equipped with radar systems and self-driving software will transport customers. At the beginning of the program, “safety drivers” will be in the vehicles.
The pilot program is set to start out in the Lake Sumter Landing region, and residents there can register with Voyage for a chance to be one of the first riders.
Because most accidents are caused by driver error, safety experts hope that driverless vehicles will make Florida’s roads safer. If careless or negligent driving has injured you or someone you love, contact the Orlando car accident attorneys at Martinez Manglardi. Call 407-846-2240 for a free consultation.