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The Florida Conference on Recent Advances in Robotics

& Robot Showcase

FCRAR 2007

 Tampa, Florida

May 31 – June 1, 2007


Past FCRAR Conferences:

FCRAR 2006, FIU, Miami

FCRAR 2005, UF, Gainesville

FCRAR 2004, UCF, Orlando

FCRAR 2003, FAU, Dania Beach

FCRAR 2002, FIU, Miami



Tampa Bay Area Information



Welcome to Tampa Bay, an area that encompasses three counties and is "home" to over 2 million residents. It's a home filled with sunny beaches and bright futures. It offers great business opportunities and low costs for doing business. It's where Tampa Bay Buccaneers' fans cheered their winning team on to Super Bowl glory in 2002 and their favorite hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, on to the 2004 Stanley Cup victory. It's also home to the "Number 1 Zoo in the United States for Kids."

It has the largest performing arts center in the southeast. The largest science museum in the south. And the cultural arts district in downtown Tampa is expanding every day, with the recent addition of the Patel Conservatory which helps both young and mature actors, artists, musicians and performers perfect their craft.

Nothing about Tampa Bay is typical. From the dramatic design of the minarets at the historic Henry B. Plant Museum (formerly the Tampa Bay Hotel) to the brilliant sunsets that electrify the night sky, this coastal community is tropical and always alluring. Tampa Bay's weather, accented by warm sunshine and cool bay breezes, provides the perfect backdrop for tourism and for your vacation.

Lush, exotic foliage flourishes throughout the area, filling the surrounding scenery with brilliant colors and intoxicating scents. Glistening waterways wrap around the region's miles of coastline providing scenic lookouts and passageways for dolphins, manatees and other aquatic creatures.

Architectural highlights and delights add visual vibrancy to the local landscape. Tampa is centrally located on Florida's West Coast making it easy to find on any map. Tampa is accessible by air, highway and waterways, making it effortless to enjoy the many sights and sounds of Tampa Bay. Well within an hour's drive from almost any point in the Tampa Bay area are an array of attractions, cultural institutions, professional and recreational sports facilities, great restaurants, rich history, nature preserves, shopping plazas and quirky and colorful events.  

A red-hot destination, Tampa Bay is a vibrant waterfront area on Florida's beautiful West Coast and offers a unique blend of urban excitement  in a natural surrounding. Start your day off  by roaring down roller coasters in the morning; then take a slow row down the scenic Hillsborough River in the afternoon. Catch a ball game from the bleachers; catch some rays on the nearby beaches. This central Florida location offers easy access to the rest of the state, but you're bound to stay for all the excitement Tampa Bay has to offer.

Tampa Bay,  originally the name of the body of water on the west coast of Florida, has now come to represent the region made up of the many distinct communities connected by the Bay waters. The New York Times says, "Now, in fact, if not law, it's one big metropolitan area, laced together with bridges and freeways - everyone calls it Tampa Bay, and it is a prototypical example of the Sun Belt's explosive growth." Tampa Bay is not only the most populous and affluent metropolitan statistical area in Florida; it is also the largest television market in the state.

From the distinct Latin roots of Tampa's historic Ybor (E-bore) City to the Greek history of Tarpon Springs; from the thrills of Busch Gardens to the culture of our museums, visitors have plenty of genuine, exciting attractions and communities to explore.

Local Travel Tips

Even though Tampa is more business-like than St. Petersburg and Clearwater when it comes to attire, dress tends to be informal. Few restaurants require a jacket and tie, and most nightspots are decidedly casual.

The Tampa Bay area is served by two daily newspapers, the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times. Several publications with smaller circulations serve local areas.

Parking in downtown Tampa is available both on-street and in various parking garages. Rates for municipal parking garages start at $1.25 per hour and range from $5.50 to $7 for 6-24 hours.

Generally, downtown speed limits in Tampa are 30 mph or as posted. Unless otherwise posted, a right turn is allowed on a red light after a complete stop. Rush hour is generally from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Sales tax in Hillsborough County is 7 percent. There is also an additional 5 percent tax on accommodations.


Tampa Bay is ideally located on Florida's West Coast, and features miles of glistening waterways and sandy shorelines. Its central location provides easy access to the nearby Gulf beaches and surrounding areas. Tampa's waterfront consists of both Hillsborough Bay and Tampa Bay, as well as the beautiful Hillsborough and Alafia rivers and several area lakes.

Several major interstates and highways converge in Tampa, creating easy access from any point in the state. Interstate 4 and Highway 60 bring travelers from eastern areas, including Plant City, Lakeland, and Orlando. Interstate 75 and Highway 301 accommodate those traveling from points north and south, including Gainesville, Ocala, Bradenton and Sarasota. Two 15-mile toll roads exist in Tampa, the Veterans Expressway (State Road 589) and the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway (State Road 618).

With Tampa as your primary destination, you can easily reach other cities for day-trips and planned excursions. Clearwater and St. Petersburg are a short 23 miles to the west, Sarasota is 61 miles southwest, and Orlando is 82 miles to the east.


Tampa Bay's weather is a combination of bright sunny days tempered by gentle bay breezes. In the spring and fall, the days are pleasantly warm, while the evenings can be a bit cooler. The summer months are characterized by warmer temperatures and quick afternoon showers. The average annual temperature in Tampa is a comfortable 72 degrees.

Loose, lightly colored clothing is recommended for daytime activities; a lightweight jacket or sweater is a good choice for the evening, especially for activities on or near the water. Comfortable walking shoes will help make the experience at the area's numerous attractions and shopping malls a pleasant one. Sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher is also a must for visitors of all ages.


Tampa International Airport (TPA)

5503 West Spruce Street


Tampa Bay boasts one of the most popular and admired airports in the world, Tampa International Airport (TPA). Major traffic corridors feeding into the Tampa Bay area include I-4 from the east and I-75 and I-275 to the north and south. A comprehensive menu of motorcoach, trolley and shuttle systems, taxis and rental cars keep visitors on the move and on schedule during their stay in Tampa Bay. Similarly, strong networks of intrastate roadways also keep the area well connected.

Long recognized as “America’s Favorite Airport,” Tampa International provides the Tampa Bay area with one of the most efficiently designed airports in the world. Conde Nast Traveler magazine has rated Tampa International Airport the best airport in the United States and the third best in the world. For the second year, The Official Airline Guide Worldwide recognized Tampa International Airport as one of the “Top Five” airports in the world for attaining and maintaining the highest standards in the aviation industry. Tampa International Airport has also ranked the highest in overall passenger satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates. Tampa International received high marks for gate areas, ease of travel to and from the airport, check-in and security procedures, baggage claim areas and rental car facilities. The survey covered all aspects of the airport experience, including getting to and leaving the airport.

On an average day, TPA is home to over 100,000 visitors. The airport offers 270 daily non-stop scheduled arrivals from 58 domestic destinations and 36 weekly nonstop scheduled arrivals from seven international markets. Centrally located, Tampa International Airport is just seven miles west of downtown Tampa. Arriving passengers are steps away from their ground transportation needs, including on-site rental cars, limousines, off-site car rental shuttles, buses and taxis.

601 Nebraska Avenue North
813-221-7600 or 800-872-7245

Tampa’s Amtrak Station offers strong north-south connections as well as links to nationwide rail travel. Amtrak’s AutoTrain offers daily service to passengers and vehicles traveling between Washington, D.C. and Orlando and a major highway delivers drivers directly to Tampa in just over an hour’s time. Amtrak is located in downtown Tampa at historic Tampa Union Station. Union Station has recently been restored to its original use as an active train station and vital transportation hub. The building serves as a multi-mode transportation facility accessed by Amtrak trains, taxis and HARTline buses. The site’s proximity to the waterfront allows for convenient service to the cruise ship terminals. It also provides automobile access to surrounding cities and communities by way of the nearby interstate and expressway systems.

610 Polk Street
813-229-2174 or 800-231-2222

Greyhound Lines, Inc. is located in Tampa at 610 Polk Street (near the corner of Pierce Street).


Tampa Bay's weather is a combination of bright sunny days tempered by gentle bay breezes. In the spring and fall, the days are pleasantly warm, while the evenings can be a bit cooler. The summer months are characterized by warmer temperatures and quick afternoon showers. The average annual temperature in Tampa is a comfortable 73 degrees.

Loose, lightly colored clothing is recommended for daytime activities; a lightweight jacket or sweater is a good choice for the evening, especially for activities on or near the water. Comfortable walking shoes will help make the experience at the area's numerous attractions and shopping malls a pleasant one. Sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher is also a must for visitors of all ages.

Please go to: for current weather and forecast information.


Tampa Bay is one of the few markets in America with two major metropolitan newspapers. The #1 ranked airport in the country. And Tampa is the only city in America that celebrates the glory of being a pirate and all the festivities that Gasparilla offers during one whole month each year.

If you're looking for a great way of life, it doesn't get better than Tampa Bay. There's no state income tax. Low property taxes. And Tampa offers a lower cost of living than other major southern cities, including Atlanta, Orlando, Charlotte and Charleston.

As a region, the commitment to excellence in education is impressive, and is essential for providing an educated, talented workforce for area businesses. Tampa is also one of the most Literate Cities in America, ranking 16th in the country among cities with more than 250,000 residents.

It's a region that attracts millions of tourists each year, who appreciate its mild winter climates, tropical summers, spectacular sunsets and beautiful beaches. Tampa Bay has a healthy economy, as well as some of the best healthcare facilities in the United States, including H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, two trauma centers, a medical school (which works in conjunction with two major hospitals) and three hospitals ranked as "America's Best Hospitals" by U.S. News and World Report.

If you're looking for a place to start or grow your business, Tampa Bay is right for you. In 2004, Florida was ranked #2 as one of the best places in America for start-ups. And more and more companies are also relocating their headquarters to Tampa, as well. We're the west coast anchor of Florida's High Tech Corridor. And you'll find all the logistical resources needed for import/export through Florida's largest deep-water port, conveniently located in downtown Tampa. And you can take advantage of the five major cruise lines that also sail out of the Port of Tampa. The Tampa Bay MSA is also known as a top growth market for manufacturing, especially for the medical industry.

Tampa Bay Attractions

  • Adventure Island
    An elaborate water park with more ways to get wet than you could ever imagine.

  • Baywalk
    Fine dining, shopping and entertainment located in the heart of downtown St. Pete.

  • Bishop Planetarium
    Get a view of the cosmos or take in a Rock 'n Roll Laser Fantasy.

  • Bok Tower
    A Florida landmark with 128 acres of gardens, pools and nature trails.

  • Busch Gardens
    Tampa Bay's biggest and most famous attraction, featuring a world-class zoo and some of the South's fastest roller coasters.

  • Channelside
    A great mix of entertainment and sunburnt cruise passengers near the Port of Tampa.

  • Chimp Farm
    If you're into dung-slinging primates, there's no better attraction in Florida. NOTE: Scheduled to reopen eventually as the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary

  • Cypress Gardens
    The granddaddy of central Florida tourism is newly designed with restored gardens, tons of shows, and new top-notch rides & coasters.

  • Dinosaur World
    Come face-to-face with some life-sized prehistoric monsters living in Plant City.

  • Heritage Village
    A 21-acre, open-air historical village and museum.

  • Homosassa Springs
    One of the most beautiful fresh water springs on the planet.  See manatees, bobcats, deer, bear and cougars.

  • The Florida Aquarium
    A stunning aquarium in downtown Tampa, displaying some of Florida's unique ecosystems.

  • Lowry Park Zoo
    Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Manatees and otters and orangutans, too!

  • Mote Marine Laboratory
    An independent, nonprofit research organization dedicated to excellence in marine and environmental sciences since 1955.

  • Parker Manatee Aquarium
    Visit the 60,000 gallon home of Snooty the Manatee and some of his friends.

  • The St. Petersburg Pier
    Great dining, nightlife, shopping and even an aquarium.  But what's with the upside-down pyramid?

  • Showtown USA - Gibsonton
    This is a must see for all the overgrown kids that loved the traveling sideshow.

  • Spook Hill
    Where gravity works backwards.  A friend of mine said it's just an optical illusion, but I don't believe it!

  • Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary
    This Indian Shores sanctuary has been rescuing sick and injured wild birds for nearly 30 years.

  • Sunken Gardens
    After a long period of uncertainty, this historic attraction is again open and owned by the people of St. Petersburg.

  • Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks
    Sponges, sharks, shops, and souvlaki. The Sponge Docks are a trip back in time, offering a unique look at Tarpon's ethnic heritage.

  • Weeki Wachee Springs
    200 acres of Florida wildlife and foliage, featuring the world-famous mermaid show.

  • Wildlife on Easy Street
    The world's largest and most diverse collection of rare and exotic cats, right here in Tampa!

For much more info on Tampa Bay and its many services and activities please go to:



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