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All Roads Lead to Orlando

Orlando is poised to become a hub and test bed for autonomous vehicles because of the region’s designation as a national AV proving-ground and friendly State legislation. Being the largest tourist destination in the world means the region has the infrastructure and scalability for a diverse set of test cases. Orlando’s competencies in simulation, aviation, defense and history in space exploration combined with specialized university research and a robust talent pipeline make this the ideal location to develop and test autonomous technologies.

OEP - (190606) AutonomousVehicleEvent_v17 - CTX
  • Over 75 million visitors to Orlando last year (Visit Orlando)
  • Florida is the friendliest state for autonomous vehicle research
  • Largest rental car market in the world
  • More modern toll roads than anywhere in the U.S.
  • Over 700 mi of fiber optics communications infrastructure



Where Fantasy Meets Reality

Being the largest tourist market in the world and leading the nation in population growth makes Orlando an ideal market for testing varying use cases and driving styles. There is extensive infrastructure already in place for moving 75 million tourists that could be easily adapted to AV technology.

Construction, diverse weather conditions, and varied city landscapes ranging from urban to suburban, make Orlando an ideal place to develop and test autonomous vehicles.


With over 250 employees in Central Florida Research Park, Luminar designed and developed a LiDAR system that can see farther than 200 meters at less than 10% reflectivity. The technology is being used as the "eyes" for autonomous vehicles. 

Luminar Office_Orlando


Founded by experienced fleet managers and technology entrepreneurs, beep delivers the next generation of services for passenger mobility. Beep is a key partner in the Move Nona initiative. Lake Nona serves as a living lab and model for the future of communities.



The global headquarters for Siemens Energy Inc. is located in Orlando with over 5,000 employees. As part of Siemens Orlando footprint, they have an ongoing partnership with BRIDG to drive the development of digital twin technology in the semiconductor industry.



Voyage is bringing a door-to-door self-driving taxi service to the 750 miles of road at The Villages. When fully operational, all 125,000 residents will have the ability to summon a self-driving car to their doorstep using the Voyage mobile app, then travel anywhere within the bounds of the community fully autonomously.




The Friendliest AV Legislation

Florida is one of the friendliest places in the world for AV legislation. Orlando’s hospitality roots extend beyond welcoming tourists from all over the world to new technologies and companies.

Orlando began exploring AV technology in 2011 with the connected vehicle-affiliated testing bed along I-4. In 2012, the Florida Automated Vehicles program was established to lead the state in developing best safety practices and promote awareness for AVs and relevant technology. Statewide, House Bill 7027 was passed in 2016, which cleared the way for all forms of AV testing.

Signed in June 2019, House Bill 311 solidifies Florida’s AV friendly stance by designating the autonomous driving system the official operator of vehicle and provides that a human operator is not required to operate a fully autonomous vehicle. HB 311 embraces the future of transportation by removing barriers to the advancement of autonomous vehicles and establishing a statewide statutory framework.




Located off I-4 between Orlando and Tampa, SunTrax is a large state of the art facility dedicated to the research, development and testing of emerging transportation technologies in safe and controlled environments. The 400-acre site contains a multi-lane 2.25-mile long oval track, which will provide an opportunity for high-speed testing, along with a 200-acre infield specifically designed to test and develop automated driving systems.



NASA Kennedy Space Center provides a controlled testing facility for AV that offers a contained environment with a vast roadway network and secure access. The Center can do controlled extreme environment testing for significant weather events and unusual roadway conditions.

The U.S. Department of Transportation selected a Florida partnership, including NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, for a pilot program to develop autonomous car technology. The partnership could allow for testing of driverless cars on the spaceport’s massive Shuttle Landing Facility, which is 15,000 feet long and 300 feet wide.



Orlando has designated public highways, roadways and transit for autonomous vehicle testing. Environments like Interstate 4, State Road 540 and State Road 528 will provide automated vehicles exposure to complex roadways with varying sections, ingress and egress merging, construction, both freight and passenger vehicles, work zone safety applications, express buses and highway maintenance.

Central Florida Expressway Authority, a privately owned highway network, includes Florida highways 408, 414, 417, 429, 451, 528, 429 and 453, totaling 118 centerline miles (including the new Wekiva Parkway), 815 lane miles (including ramps), 69 interchanges, 335 bridges and 14 mainline toll plazas.  



Simulation Capital of the World

With billions of dollars in simulation and defense contracts flowing through the region, Orlando has earned it's place as the modeling, simulation and training capital of the world.



  • In the mid-1960s, the Naval Training Systems Center located in Orlando
  • Orlando has a long-standing legacy in crew and pilot training


  • $6 billion in modeling, training and simulation contracts flow through the region annually (National Center for Simulation)
  • Navy, Marine, and Army Simulation Commands are in Orlando




  • Fueled by the creative minds behind world-class entertainment technology, and industry leaders like EA Sports, Orlando hosts a thriving video game development cluster.


Training Tomorrow's Workforce, Today

Orlando universities offer specialized programs and certifications related to autonomous technology, including University of Central Florida (UCF)'s Institute for Simulation and Training, Full Sail University's Bachelor's Degree in Simulation & Visualization and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University's Simulation Science, Games and Animation Program.


This entirely STEM degree based university located in Lakeland, Fla. is home to the Advanced Mobility Institute. The Institute is as a leader in autonomous vehicle research with a specialized course in autonomous systems and self-driving vehicles. Developed through a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the course focuses on the technologies, algorithms, designer, and development of autonomous systems. Florida Poly also has a robust transportation and logistics program geared towards students interested in advanced mobility and logistics topics.


Full Sail’s Simulation & Visualization bachelor of science degree program equips engineers working in the simulation and visualization industry with vital programming and critical thinking skills needed to study and design virtual systems.



The nation's second largest undergraduate university, the University of Central Florida (UCF) is one of the best engineering schools in world - especially when it comes to modeling and simulation.

Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA)

The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) is a graduate video game design school  offering an accredited master’s degree in interactive entertainment. Areas of study include game design, development, art, programming and production. The adjacent video game design industry in Central Florida (led by EA Tiburon, FIEA at UCF, and Full Sail University) creates an additional source of talent in simulation, programming, and design and contributes to the density of talent relevant to AVs here in Orlando.

School of Modeling, Simulation, and Training

The UCF School of Modeling, Simulation, and Training is a global leader in Modeling and Simulation graduate education. The Modeling and Simulation graduate programs have a history of academic excellence in the field of modeling, simulation, and training. 


The College of Optics and Photonics

The UCF College of Optics and Photonics is a world leader in education, research, and industrial partnership. The College includes 36 faculty members plus 19 faculty with joint appointments and 5 emeritus professors. It is home to more than 60 research scientists, 150 graduate students and 90 undergraduate students.


  • “Move fast and break things” won’t make self-driving cars safe, Quartz

  • Self-driving platoons of trucks are coming to a highway near you, Quartz

  • Florida: The next hotbed of AV tech, Automotive News

  • Where Fla. can prove its AV chops, Automotive News 

  • Startup prepares for production of lidar at scale, Automotive News 

  • How safe do self-driving vehicles need to be? Automotive News 

  • This Lidar is so cheap it could make self-driving a reality, Wired

  • Self-driving safety, talking to robots, Bloomberg 

  • Driverless cars are a growing business in Florida, Central Florida News 13 

  • Orlando hobnobs with Uber, Toyota, Nissan in push to lead driverless car industry, Orlando Sentinel

  • Autonomous cars: The future is coming – slowly, Orlando Sentinel

  • Here’s what’s behind Orlando autonomous vehicle industry growth, Orlando Business Journal

  • Here’s the latest on this firm’s technology for self-driving cars, Orlando Business Journal

  • Orlando hosts self-driving vehicle conference, Fox 35

  • Testing the tech of the driverless future, WFTV

  • Creating cars of the future, WFTV

  • Automated vehicles moving from science toward assembly line, Florida Politics

  • Velodyne touts lidar advances, autonomous vehicle partnership, Robotics Business Review

  • Orlando lands San Francisco autonomous vehicle summit for the first time, Florida Politics

Let's Chat!

Set up a meeting with Amy Dinsmore, Orlando Economic Partnership senior director of business development for innovative technologies.

Orlando is home to the highest concentration of LiDAR expertise in the world — all within a 10-mile radius of our building! There is a huge infrastructure and pool of talent in optics and photonics.
Shawn Bristow

Jason Eichenholz Luminar Technologies

We think Orlando is an ideal location to grow our footprint and employment base given the city’s diverse, strong talent pipeline, available and affordable land with room to grow, and low taxes.
Shawn Bristow

Frank St. John Lockheed Martin