More than 1,000 people to attend summit in Raleigh to discuss future of transportation

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- More than 1,000 people will attend the 2019 N.C. Transportation Summit at the Raleigh Convention Center, which runs through Thursday, organizers said.

Chairman of the North Carolina Board of Transportation Mike Fox said the summit is a place where those interested in transportation can gather to exchange ideas and discuss how to move forward to prepare for the future.

"We're going to have a lot of different technologies," Fox said. "We're going to have, certainly, autonomous vehicles. We're going to have a lot more electric vehicles so we need the infrastructure for that. Right now, there's a lot more places where you can buy fuel, gasoline, then where you can charge your vehicle so we need to be prepared for that. We need to have our roads-need to be adaptable for autonomous vehicles because they need to be able to read lane markings so we need to be working on that now."

A self-driving vehicle N.C. State is testing was on display at the summit. It seats two people.

"It's a driverless vehicle that can take people from a bus to class, from classroom to classroom," said Waugh Wright of N.C. State's Institute for Transportation Research and Education. "It can go between door to door. It can go in shared used paths. It can go across a state campus or business park or a military base. It's different in that being so small it's able to go in places that a larger autonomous shuttle can't go, certainly a regular driverless vehicle cannot go."

Waugh said students and professors are working on the project.

The North Carolina Public Safety Drone Academy showcased drones they used to capture footage of the devastation during Hurricane Florence.

"Instantly, we were able to fly, log all that footage and provide it to state officials and the Governor for them to do road closures, to go ahead and dispatch aid out to certain areas and just to see the overall impact of different areas," said Riley Beaman, Director of the North Carolina Public Safety Drone Academy.

Thomas Walls of the NCDOT Division of Aviation said they're testing the use of drones to deliver medical supplies for WakeMed.

"You're taking the human element out of it," Walls said. "It can get there faster. A trip from WakeMed to Garner hospital is going to take you 20 minutes with traffic. A drone is going to take you five to 10 minutes at the most, flying."

Walls said more tests in the Triangle using drones to deliver medical supplies are in the works, as well as the use of drones to deliver food.

In addition, platooning technology is being tested for the first time on United States soil and the research is taking place in Wake County.

Click here for more information on the summit.
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