TAMPA, Fla. -- The car of the future is here.

  • Self-driving cars used Lidar -- radar with pictures
  • Tampa seen as leader in autonomous vehicle testing
  • Lidar, GPS keeps the car in lane

Using the Selmon Expressway in Tampa, Real Time Traffic Expert Chuck Henson had the chance to experience a ride in a car that drives itself.

He also learned how the car sees the world around it.

It's called Lidar -- think radar with pictures.

Frank Menchaca, with the Society of Automotive Engineers, brought a self-driving car to Tampa to begin a much larger conversation about how cars like this will be used on our roads.

"The technology is developing more rapidly than the infrastructure can keep up with," Menchaca said. "So it's really an extraordinary challenge to bring together government, industry and academia to agree on how we're going to implement this enormously promising technology."

Garrett Moore, Chuck's safety driver for his test run, said it's a combination of Lidar and GPS that keeps the car in the lane. From space, a satellite knows within two centimeters the location of the car.

Tampa -- and specifically the Selmon Expressway -- are seen as leaders in autonomous and connected vehicle testing.