TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) – The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority is moving forward with plans to place two, low-speed autonomous shuttles on the roads in Tampa to move people between downtown and the Marion Transit Center.

According to HART senior planner Justin Begley, HART plans to begin testing by the end of 2017, with hopes of allowing passengers on-board sometime next year.

The agency is looking to lease autonomous shuttles that will carry no more than a dozen people at a time. Request for proposals will be sent out later this month, and HART will select a provider by July.

"We feel like by running the shuttles here, we can build public awareness of driverless vehicles, because they're certainly coming down the pipe,” said Begley. “And once we build the awareness, we can build some level of trust and comfort with the technology, and then finally hope that we can get some acceptance with driverless technology, because we know that this is going to be the future of transportation. We want to bring it forward here first."