Three months after launching its inaugural self-driving service, Silicon Valley startup Drive.ai has wasted little time finding a second location in which to deploy its bright orange vans.
The company commenced service in Arlington, Texas, on Friday, Oct. 19, deploying three vehicles to serve multiple routes that connect professional sports venues, a neighborhood filled with restaurants and the city's convention center.
Federal grants and the City of Arlington are funding the yearlong project. Though financial terms were not disclosed, Drive.ai CEO Bijit Halder said the deal was a sign that cities and transportation authorities are willing to experiment with — and pay for — autonomous services that give riders options for navigating downtown corridors.
"The revenue component is a real-world proof point that this makes sense for people on the ground," he told Automotive News. "We see our model is comfortable for our partners and very concrete when it comes to our partners' ability and willingness to pay for this service. This shows that collaboration with local partners really works."