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article imageCalifornia firm starts self-driving ride-share project in Texas

By Ken Hanly     May 8, 2018 in Technology
Frisco - based in California is about to launch a self-driving ride-share service in Texas. Drive said it will offer rides to more than 10,000 people in Level 4 self-driving vehicles.
The six-month pilot project will be within a geofenced area that will include retail, entertainment and office spaces. teamed up with Frisco Texas
The company is partnering with Frisco Texas, a city of about 170,000, and its transportation management agency. The exact drop-off areas are to be finalized between May and the July launch date. During this period the company and the city are educating the public about the self-driving technology in the compact vans that are being used in the program. The agency will also gauge public response to determine final drop-off locations.
Level 4 self-driving vehicles
Level 4 self-driving vehicles are described by Wikipedia as follows: "Level 4 ("mind off"): As level 3, but no driver attention is ever required for safety, i.e. the driver may safely go to sleep or leave the driver's seat. Self driving is supported only in limited spatial areas (geofenced) or under special circumstances, like traffic jams. Outside of these areas or circumstances, the vehicle must be able to safely abort the trip, i.e. park the car, if the driver does not retake control." The highest level 5 is completely autonomous with no human intervention required.
A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter rather than an actual fence for a specific geographical area. It could be a radius around a point location or it can be a set of predefined boundaries, as would be the case in the pilot project. CEO claims technology is safe
Sameep Tandon who is CEO and co-founder of claims: “Self-driving cars are here, and can improve the way we live right now. Our technology is safe, smart, and adaptive, and we are ready to work with governments and businesses to solve their transportation needs.”
However, several recent crashes have raised questions about the safety of the technology. A Waymo minivan was recently hit by a vehicle in Chandler Arizona. Back in March, an Uber vehicle hit and killed a woman in Tempe Arizona. No doubt with more tests such events are likely to occur and often they may not be the fault of the self-driving vehicle although in some instances they may contribute to the crashes.
The mayor of Frisco, Texas Jeff Cheney, was upbeat about the project: “Today definitely marks a mobility milestone for our entire region. It also gets us closer to achieving one of our council’s ‘Top Ten’ goals, which is to improve traffic throughout Frisco, one of the fastest growing cities in the country.”
Besides the city, other partners in the pilot project include the Hall Group, Frisco Stations Partners and the Denton County Transportation Authority.
More about Driverai, Level 4 selfdriving vehicles, Texas
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