Silicon Valley Startup Drive.ai Inc. plans to install a small network of self-driving cars this summer that can be accessed with an app, making it one of the first such services for the general public.
The Ride Hailing app will initially cover a piece of Frisco, Texas and will be available in July, the company said. The program's vehicles, Nissan's NV200 Transporter, are painted bright orange and have visible sensors as well as four screens that tell pedestrians what the car thinks, such as "waiting for you to cross" and "passengers entering / leaving."
Drive.ai declined to say how many cars will be part of the project. As of November 30, the start-up had licensed seven vehicles for autonomous operation in California.
Waymo of Alphabet Inc., About Technologies Inc. and other autonomous vehicle operators have tested similar programs with selected drivers. Waymo asked people in Arizona to apply for free travel last year, and granted hundreds of residents in parts of Greater Phoenix, including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe, Arizona. Uber's self-driving car tests have been stalled since March when a pedestrian was hit and killed in Tempe.
Like Waymo, Drive.ai rides will be free, and the cars will only be parked near some Frisco office complexes and the Star, the Dallas Cowboys headquarters, between predetermined pick-up times. and delivery points. The service is limited to residents, employees and visitors of the buildings in the program. Drivers Will not Be Alone: The cars will have either safety drivers or chaperones riding in them all the time. Drive.ai was founded in 2015 by a group of scientists who worked together at Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Lab. One of Drive.ai's directors, Andrew Ng, ran the Stanford lab before leaving to oversee artificial intelligence projects at Google.