The driverless-car industry is gaining momentum, and this time it's going to let the public in Frisco take it for a test ride.
A California startup called Drive.ai — working with the Frisco Transportation Management Association — will offer trips to more than 10,000 people, according to a statement issued Monday. The vehicles will travel between fixed points in an area devoted to retail, entertainment and offices at HALL Park and the Star in Frisco.
The pilot program, which will operate on public roads, is slated to start in July. It will run for six months, with a planned expansion in Frisco Station.
The partnership is part of an industry effort to push the technology to a broader audience as the race heats up among rivals such as Waymo, a spin-off of Alphabet, and General Motors' Cruise. Drive.ai alone logged more than 6,000 autonomous driving miles in California in 2017, up from more than 500 in 2016, according to a report by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Show Full Story
The new service comes after low-speed, battery-powered driverless shuttles named "Milo" were unveiled in Arlington to move visitors around an entertainment area near AT&T Stadium. It also follows an effort in the Phoenix area where Waymo is offering driverless rides to the public, according to its website.
"We are ready to work with governments and businesses to solve their transportation needs," Sameep Tandon, co-founder and CEO of Drive.ai., said in the statement. "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.”
The service will be available through a smartphone application that lets users hail complimentary, on-demand rides.
Drive.ai, which has raised more than $60 million, has more than 100 employees, including those in Frisco. The company was founded by graduate students out of Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Lab.