Auburndale, FL – In the middle of Polk County, construction is underway for a 475-acre cutting-edge facility dedicated to the research, development, and testing of new transportation technologies. The project, called SunTrax, will be the first “purpose-built” testing facility for autonomous vehicles technology in the country.
In early May, crews finished laying asphalt for the 2.25 mile oval track, completing Phase I of the project. The testing track, unlike conventional speedway tracks, is built to interstate highway standards to simulate a real-world environment. The roadway features 5 straightaway lanes plus 2 shoulders that can be converted into travel lanes, 4 toll gantries, and office/warehouse buildings.
SunTrax construction is now moving towards Phase II, which is expected to start this fall and finish in 2021. Phase II focuses on transforming the 200-acre infield into a simulated city. The infield plan includes:
- 27,000 square foot warehouse building
- 56,000 square foot workshop containing private bays stocked with tools and vehicle lifts
- Geometric track built on a manufactured hill-scape featuring complex horizontal and vertical curves with irregular grade changes
- Urban environment simulating city-like buildings, intersections, and signalization
- Pick-up/Drop-off track replicating multi-modal passenger transfers (i.e. airport)
- 28-acre technology pad simulating real-world geometric configurations
Phase III, which is scheduled for completion by 2024, will finish off the infield development with a sensor test chamber. This enclosed structure will provide space for testing controlled and repeatable scenarios such as rain, fog, smoke, etc.
Once completed, SunTrax will offer a suite of services to test transportation technology in a controlled setting. Manufacturers will be able to rent space and utilize the provided facilities to perform whatever tests they need. The revenue brought in from renting the facility will pay for operation and maintenance costs, along with repaying the initial investment from FDOT.
With the resources to simulate and monitor hundreds of real-world driving situations, SunTrax has the potential to transform the transportation industry through the advancement of safe and efficient technology solutions. Coupled with the newly signed autonomous vehicle bill, this facility will help expedite the growth of autonomous and connected vehicles, further solidifying Florida as a leader in transportation innovation.
Below you can find a 360 degree virtual reality tour of the facility! For more information, please visit www.suntraxfl.com