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This Start-up Will Offer Free Driverless Van Service in Texas This Summer
Self-driving vehicles may seem like a futuristic mode of transportation, but a group in Frisco, Texas, will put them to the test sooner rather than later.
Drive.ai, a Silicon Valley-based autonomous vehicle start-up, will pilot a ride-hailing service using its self-driving vans this July. The company anticipates it will serve over 10,000 people working, living and visiting Frisco during its six-month pilot period.
Bloomberg reports the service will be free for riders during the testing phase.
For the first six months, the self-driving vehicles will be limited to predetermined pickup and drop-off locations around HALL Park, a major office park development, and The Star, Dallas Cowboys’ headquarters. Only employees or patrons of the buildings and local residents will be able to access the service via a smartphone app.
Drive.ai intends to eventually expand service to Frisco Station, a mixed-use development.
Prior to rolling out the self-driving vans, Drive.ai and its partners in the pilot program will inform the public about the program and how riders can access the app.
Bloomberg reports Drive.ai is one of the first companies to use autonomous vehicles to offer a ride-hailing service to the public.
The self-driving vehicles that will hit Frisco’s streets are Nissan NV200 vans painted bright orange. The vans will have visible sensors and four screens that indicate what the vehicle is doing, such as waiting for pedestrians to cross the street or stopping for passengers to get on or off.
Passengers — and pedestrians — worried about safety in the wake of deadly crashes involving Uber and Tesla self-driving vehicles can take comfort in knowing a human backup driver will ride along in the vans.
The company hasn’t disclosed how many vans will be in its fleet when service debuts.
Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. The idea of self-driving cars makes her anxious.