Drive.ai has launched a ride-hailing service in Texas, which uses driverless minibuses to ferry passengers around the state.
The shared ride service will be available to more than 10,000 residents in partnership with the Frisco Transportation Management Association.
At first, the shared service will only transport passengers around “safe zones” – geofenced areas that include retail, entertainment, and office space, from and to fixed pickup and drop off locations. After initial trials, there are plans to roll out the service on a bigger scale if it proves successful.
“Self-driving cars are here, and can improve the way we live right now,” Drive.ai co-founder and CEO Sameep Tandon said. “Our technology is safe, smart, and adaptive, and we are ready to work with governments and businesses to solve their transportation needs. Working with the City of Frisco and Frisco TMA, this pilot program will take people to the places they want to go and transform the way they experience transportation.”
Anyone wanting to try out the service can download the app and then sign up to test it, booking their self-drive, on-demand rides.
Drive.ai also wants to educate its users about the benefits of autonomous car journeys, teaching that automating cars is a good thing for the economy and the environment Along the routes, there will be large signs advertising the benefits of self-driving cars, while on the outside of the buses, pedestrians will be able to see what the car’s next move is, hopefully reassuring them they’re all safe.
The vehicles will also be painted bright orange – making them hard to miss if they’re heading in your direction.
The Dallas-Fort Worth was chosen for the trials “because of the diversity of cities, and also the number of cities that have very transportation-focused agendas,” Conway Chen, Drive.ai’s vice president of business strategy, told Forbes.
“Frisco was supported by a transportation authority that had a very unique approach to looking at service-based offerings for their cities and also had land developers in the area that are focused on transportation.”