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Driving into the future: Florida bills set the stage for autonomous delivery vehicles, digital license plates

File-This March 20, 2020, file photo shows a parking lot full of Uber self-driving Volvos in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
File-This March 20, 2020, file photo shows a parking lot full of Uber self-driving Volvos in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Three different legislative committees in the state Capitol on Wednesday approved three bills that would help Floridians drive into the future.

The bills set the stage for digital and autonomous technology.

“I mean, we’re right around the corner, you’re seeing more and more of these companies developing every day. You’re seeing really interesting partnerships developing out of this technology,” said state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg.

Legislation approved by a Senate committee sets the road map for autonomous delivery vehicles.

“When you order from Walmart, it’ll ultimately come in an automated vehicle, delivered to your house, via an app. You’ll press a button, it’ll open a door,” said Brandes.

Also, $1 million in insurance would be required.

“And just last week, I talked to another company that wants to relocate to Florida and begin to grow their business here as it relates to the future of automated, shared and electrical vehicles,” said Brandes.

The vehicles would only be allowed to travel on roadways with a 35 mph limit or less, with one exception. The vehicles would be allowed to operate on a 45 mph road for a mile, to get from one neighborhood to another.

Three different legislative committees in the state Capitol on Wednesday approved three bills that would help Floridians drive into the future.
Three different legislative committees in the state Capitol on Wednesday approved three bills that would help Floridians drive into the future.

Another bill would use a handful of state vehicles to become a pilot for digital license plates.

“You have to actually purchase a physical plate before you can purchase a digital license plate,” said state Rep. Nick Duran, D-Miami.

The possibilities would be endless -- never changing the sticker on the plate and much more.

“If the car gets stolen, you can type in the license,” said Duran.

Digital license plates currently cost just under $500, but the cost is expected to come down significantly as they gain popularity.

Finally, Florida would pilot a digital driver’s license, so if you are ever stopped and the officer asks for your license and registration, you simply press a button to send it.

Digital driver’s licenses could be a year away.


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