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“We are very pleased with the traffic outside. Our exhibitors have told us they are getting the C.E.O.s, the presidents, out there in the cars participating in these demonstrations,” said Sandra Collier, director of convention services for the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, host of the expo. The annual event is held in the United States once every three years; in 2008 it was in New York. “Those demos were more of a show that we put together, a skit, showing the cars interacting with pedestrians and signage on the street. This technology showcase allowed us to incorporate more exhibitors.”
Most of the demonstrations took place in a fenced section of the parking lot, but some took attendees onto city streets. In the weeks leading up to the expo, companies from around the world installed a network of traffic sensors and monitors around Orlando to showcase the latest intelligent technologies that allow cars to avoid crashes by communicating with each other and the roadways.
“These demos are a partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation, and the fact that this investment won’t just go away after the convention is very unique,” said Scott Belcher, president and C.E.O. of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.
Inside the convention center, a 350,000-square-foot exhibit hall featured the latest products from more than 250 companies. Policy makers, transportation officials, and technology companies from more than 65 countries also participated in more than 300 education sessions and heard from speakers such as Ford Motor Company executive chairman Bill Ford and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Next year, Vienna, Austria, will host the World Congress, followed by Tokyo in 2013.