TAMPA, Fla. — Since 2015, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) has been working with the U.S. Department of Transportation on specialized technology that aims to make driving a whole lot safer.
And now they're looking for volunteers in the Tampa area to participate in the next phase of the pilot program.
It's called "Connected Vehicle Technology" and it's all about linking our cars to existing infrastructure to avoid accidents on the road.
The program works by allowing cars, buses, trucks, trains, roads and other infrastructure to "talk" to one another through smartphones and other devices, USDOT explains.
For instance, cars on the highway would use radio signals to send drivers notifications and alerts of potentially dangerous situations like someone about to run a red light or an object on the road.
The department says connected vehicle technology could dramatically reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. In fact, early research shows this technology can address at least 78 percent of vehicle-to-vehicle-related collisions, Sue Bai, the chief engineer at Honda Research Institute said in a video explaining the program.
“It’s not just about technology, it’s about improving people's lives and creating a collision-free society," Bai said.
In this next pilot phase, THEA is looking to install the connected vehicle technology in about 300 volunteers' cars.
People who are selected to participate will get some extra perks, too. In addition to furthering research that could make our roadways safer, drivers will receive up to a 30 percent rebate for tolls on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, up to a maximum of $550.
Participants must be 18 or older and drive a Honda, Acura, Hyundai, Kia or Toyota. You can find out if you're eligible for the connected vehicle pilot program by filling out this survey on THEA's website.