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Tampa’s MOSI offering first public driverless vehicle experience

by Banks Lee

MOSI Tampa

The Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) in Tampa is giving guests the opportunity to experience autonomous vehicle technology, in addition to drones and robots this summer in a hands-on, interactive way.

Guests can ride in a driverless vehicle, fly commercial drones and code robots all summer long at MOSI.

As guests enter the MOSI lobby, they will be greeted by a Meridian Shuttle, an intelligent vehicle that is a 100 percent driverless and electric shuttle. This experience will be a nation-wide first, as autonomous technology has not been available for the general public to experience until now. While many institutions have provided autonomous technology demonstrations in isolated areas, no one in the United States has a working system that interacts with the organization and their guests. MOSI will be the first in the nation with a working autonomous vehicle system in which guests are able to ride.

“This is world-changing technology and it makes sense for it to debut at MOSI, our community’s resource for science and technology,” said Molly Demeulenaere, interim president and CEO of MOSI. “By making these new and developing technologies accessible to everyone, MOSI gives its visitors a sneak peek into their not-so-distant future and inspires our next generation of scientists, engineers and inventors to see that anything is possible.”

Additionally, guests will be able to enjoy MOSI’s new Drone Zone, where they can fly, drive, and dive commercial drones in the air, on land, and under water, while learning about how this technology can help mankind and what kind of concerns are associated with these advances. In Idea Zone, MOSI’s inventor’s studio, guests will be able to code a variety of motion-interfacing robots to explore simulated off-world terrains and to navigate mazes. These robots will demonstrate a variety of abilities, including artificial intelligence, assistive, and rehabilitative technology and autonomous functionality.

Additionally, the overall experience will touch on some of the controversies that are tied to many of these new technologies. Are self-driving cars able to be hacked? Are drones life-savers or spies?

“There is often a fear surrounding new technologies like autonomous vehicles and drones,” said Demeulenaere. “MOSI empowers people to embrace their curiosity regarding these new technologies in a safe and protective environment. These are important conversations happening within the family unit here at MOSI that may not happen in more formal settings.”

MOSI’s driverless vehicle, drone and robot experience is a part of MOSI’s newest exhibit, Innovate, a unique experience showcasing the latest discoveries that improve the way we live, work, and play right now and in the future. The experience is included with the price of admission and free for MOSI members. MOSI admission, which includes the autonomous vehicle, drone and robot experience, 3D Printing the Future, more than 450 hands-on exhibits and one film in the Florida Hospital IMAX DOME Theatre, is $22.95 for adults, $20.95 for seniors (60+), $18.95 for children (3-12) and children 2 and under are free.

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