Drive.ai : New pilot program in Arlington, TX
The Silicon Valley company is adding a second city to its roster: after deploying its orange vans in Frisco, Texas a few weeks ago, it announced, through a post on the Medium today, that it has struck a deal with the city of Arlington, TX to offer autonomous rides in its vans to the locals of the Texan city.
Through their pilot programme, agreed with the City of Arlington, Drive.ai will offer autonomous rides to locals and visitors in the Entertainment District beginning October 19, 2018. The Entertainment District is home to world-class venues, such as the AT&T Stadium - the autonomous vans will be able to move passengers from remote parking locations to these venues. As VentureBeat reports, the service will be made possible through a combination of city funding and a federal grant. The vans will be driving at speeds up to 35mph and they will be picking up passengers who hail them using their smartphones.
Apart from their bright orange colour, the Nissan NV200 vans used by Drive.ai are renowned for one more thing: their sociable character. Featuring four 22.5x7.5" screens (one on each side), these autonomous vehicles communicate with pedestrians around them in real time. They will tell pedestrians they are "Waiting for You" when they yield at a pedestrian crossing and they will inform the vehicle behind them that their stop is due to a pedestrian on the street. Through their "friendly disposition", Drive.ai's vans aim to make the public more aware of the self-driving vehicles on the streets, on the one hand, and reassure people interacting with them that they are properly capable of doing the driving, on the other.
The pilot will begin operating with just three vans - the contract allows the parties to add two more vehicles to the Arlington fleet at a later stage, based, presumably, on the popularity of the programme.
Photo Credit: Drive.ai