Arlington has approved a contract with Drive.ai for a one-year pilot program to operate autonomous vehicles within the city's entertainment district.
The pilot begins Oct. 19 with three self-driving vans that will provide residents and visitors on-demand transportation around AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park and nearby venues.
The three-passenger vans will travel on public roads alongside other vehicles at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, but will be programmed to drive within a designated area. Safety operators will be present during the initial phase of the pilot. Two more vehicles could be added to the fleet later.
This isn’t the first driverless transportation Arlington has explored. The city’s yearlong pilot program known as Milo ended this month. The electric shuttles operated on private roads near its entertainment district.
“The City is excited to continue our exploration into new and innovative mobility solutions,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said in a statement. “Early testing of these technologically advanced solutions will prepare the City to take advantage of unique and efficient transportation options as they become available.”
The partnership with Drive.ai will cost nearly $435,000 for three vehicles. Most of the pilot will be funded by a $343,000 federal grant, with the remainder coming from the city.
Arlington is the second North Texas city to get on board with a self-driving car service this summer. Drive.ai launched a six-month pilot in Frisco last month with a small fleet of its vans available to roughly 10,000 employees in an office park near The Star.
Similar projects could be on the way across the region and state. Last year, Texas was one of 10 states approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation to let companies pilot automated technology in vehicles.