Drive.ai, the AI self-driving system developer, has launched its pilot self-driving service in Frisco, Texas – an on-demand programme that aims to solve the ‘last mile’ transit problem of linking areas that are too far to walk but too close to drive.
The programme – a partnership with the Frisco Transportation Management Association – will see the company’s self-driving vehicles operate along a geo-fenced route in the city, connecting local offices with retail, dining and entertainment options.
While passengers will initially be joined by a safety driver to monitor the vehicles’ operation, Drive.ai plans to replace this driver with a ‘chaperone’ in the passenger seat, who can look after the vehicle and educate riders about the self-driving experience. Eventually, the company will offer passenger-only rides.
“Our focus is on solving a mobility challenge, and doing so safely,” said the company in a blog post announcing the start of its self-driving services in Frisco.
A team from Drive.ai has been driving along the route in Frisco since April, to collect data for the firm’s deep learning AI systems, document different driving scenarios and create custom simulations to improve the way its self-driving vehicles will perform.
In addition to these ‘real world’ logged miles, the company has driven more than one million simulated miles on its Frisco route.
“With each mile driven — both on the streets and in simulations — we will continue to improve our technology,” said Drive.ai.
“Today is the exciting start to our on-demand ride service, which we hope will benefit a community and increase understanding of and confidence in self-driving technology.”