Test program preparing Tampa for smart cars of the future

Eventually, your car will be talking with other vehicles on the road. If you live in Tampa, eventually could be next year. Tests are about to get underway in Tampa to make driving on expressways easier.

The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority's Connected Vehicle Pilot Program will monitor the driving habits of 1,600 volunteer testers. The volunteers will agree to have a smart-mirror and antenna attached to their vehicles -- turning your 1996 model or newer car into a future-mobile.

“Connected vehicles [are] basically your car talking to the infrastructure and providing info for you to make better decisions,” said Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority Planning Director Bob Frey. “The info provided should make it easier for people get to-and-from where they want to go, make better decisions, and ultimately reduce crashes."

For example, a connected car could warn its driver if there a person has stepped into an upcoming intersection, alert motorists to the presences of a wrong-way driver, or tell you when there's a sudden-traffic back-up.

“It helps with signal timings and helps move more traffic more smoothly,” Frey added.

The initial program will mostly focus on downtown and parts of the Selmon Expressway. It will also include an app for pedestrians.

The tests go live in April 2018. For more information visit http://www.tampacvpilot.com.