JTA’s new partnership to drive autonomous vehicle innovation in Downtown Jacksonville

Posted: 11 September 2023 | | No comments yet

In Autumn 2023, JTA’s autonomous electric vehicle service will revolutionise mobility for FSCJ Downtown Jacksonville users, fostering seamless movement and accessibility throughout the campus.

JTA's new partnership to drive autonomous vehicle innovation in Downtown Jacksonville

Credit: Jacksonville Transportation Authority

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) and Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) have announced a new partnership to expand the testing of autonomous vehicles on FSCJ’s downtown campus. 

The roots of this partnership had been established in 2020 through a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), strategically aligned with FSCJ’s National Science Foundation grant awards. These grants aimed to design and implement innovative curriculum modules, equipping students to become the future workforce proficient in autonomous technology and electric vehicle platforms. 

Scheduled to launch in Autumn 2023, the autonomous electric vehicle service will offer a fresh mobility solution for students, faculty and visitors on the FSCJ Downtown Jacksonville campus. Covering a one-mile route, the service will connect vital campus areas, including the Advanced Technology Center, President’s office and Cafeteria, facilitating seamless movement between these segments.

This initiative is part of JTA’s “Agile” programme designed to prepare the Jacksonville community for the future of transportation through the Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) programme. It will serve as a testing ground for various autonomous vehicle applications, further refining their role in the community before the anticipated launch of phase one of the U2C – the Bay Street Innovation Corridor in 2025. 

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Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., CEO of JTA, said: “FSCJ continues to be a vital partner as we advance and socialise autonomous vehicle technology in Jacksonville, both for Bay Street and beyond. In addition to being some of the first to ride autonomous vehicles in Jacksonville, FSCJ students, faculty and campus guests will have an opportunity to provide us with direct feedback as we prepare to launch the Bay Street Innovation Corridor in 2025.”

FSCJ President Dr. John Avendano said: “This partnership enables our automotive technology students to be at the forefront of the rapidly evolving industries of autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles and artificial intelligence by integrating these technologies into our academic programming.”

The U2C programme‘s first phase will introduce a full-scale autonomous shuttle network with smart and connected technology along Bay Street in 2025. Comprising three main phases, the U2C programme will progressively expand the 10-mile transportation network, connecting key downtown Jacksonville corridors, including the Sports/Entertainment District, the Downtown Northbank and Southbank, and extending into surrounding neighbourhoods like Brooklyn, Riverside, San Marco and Springfield.