Arlington city leaders say they've approved a contract with a California-based self-driving car company for a one-year pilot program to run autonomous public transit within the city's entertainment district beginning this fall.
Beginning Oct. 19, the city and Drive.ai will roll out three self-driving three-passenger vans that will travel on roads alongside other vehicles in a predetermined, geo-fenced area at speeds up to 35 miles per hour.
"Drive.ai looks forward to the opportunity to bring our innovative self-driving technology to the City of Arlington. This forward-thinking, bustling city has unique transportation needs, and we plan to provide a last-mile transit solution within a vibrant entertainment district," said Conway Chen, vice president of business strategy at Drive.ai. "Together with the city, we aim to reshape the way people experience transportation in Arlington, Texas."
The city said that during the initial phase of the yearlong pilot, safety operators will be onboard the vans moving people between AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park and other nearby venues.
With the approval of the city and Drive.ai, the pilot program could be expanded to five autonomous vehicles.
"The City is excited to continue our exploration into new and innovative mobility solutions. Early testing of these technologically advanced solutions will prepare the City to take advantage of unique and efficient transportation options as they become available," Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said.
The program will be partially funded by a federal grant, with the remainder of funding coming from the City. The Drive.ai vans will be among the transportation technology showcased by cities from across the state during the three-day Texas Mobility Summit, which will be held in Arlington from Oct. 28-30.
Last month Drive.ai began a pilot program using seven autonomous vehicles in Frisco for employees moving between the short distance between hall Park and The Star.