Starting in July, the self-driving startup Drive.ai will offer on-demand robotic cars in Frisco, a suburb north of Dallas.
Behind the wheel: Drive.ai plans to use the city as the test bed for a six-month pilot of its vehicles, according to a post on Medium by Andrew Ng, a leading AI expert and a Drive.ai board member.
Safety first: The cars will be deployed only in a small area and on fixed routes. They’ll be painted bright orange, with the words “self-driving vehicle” printed on the sides, and include displays that can flash messages to pedestrians, like “Waiting for you to cross.” Backup drivers will be in place at first, with plans to shift over to a “chaperone” in the passenger seat and, eventually, to remote operators overseeing multiple cars.
Why it matters: Waymo has tested cars in Austin and offered rides to the public in Phoenix, but this trial will be the first time a company has provided trips to the public in the Lone Star State. After Uber’s fatal accident in March, Drive.ai’s safety-first approach could help convince Texans to hop in.