Updated March 25, 3:40 p.m.
Autonomous vehicles will no longer drive the streets of Frisco.
Drive.ai, a self-driving vehicle company that has operated at Hall Park since last summer, is ending its pilot program. The last day for rides is March 29.
Drive.ai’s program was a ride-hailing service for Hall Park tenants with stops in Hall Park, The Star in Frisco and Frisco Station. The program was in collaboration with the Transportation Management Association, or TMA, a public-private partnership among the city of Frisco, Denton County Transportation Authority, Hall Group, Frisco Station Partners and The Star in Frisco/Blue Star Land.
Drive.ai director of communications Adrian Fine said that the end of the pilot program in Frisco means the end of the partnership with the Frisco TMA. Fine said the company will focus its attention on expanding its program in the city of Arlington.
“For the time being, we felt Arlington was the best fit for us,” Fine said in an email.
Drive.ai plans to deploy an additional four vehicles in the downtown Arlington area and expand its hours and weekend service.
“We want to thank drive.ai for partnering with us during this innovative pilot program—the first of its
kind in Texas for on-demand, driverless car service on public roads,” Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said in a statement. “Frisco is committed to continue exploring the latest trends in ‘smart’ transportation to expand connectivity in our city, recognized among the fastest growing in the country. We look forward to working with our partners in the Frisco Transportation Management Association to find both emerging technologies and practical solutions for our community.”
The TMA has looked at other autonomous vehicle programs as options for mobility solutions in Frisco, but the association is still exploring which direction to take next, DCTA spokeswoman Adrienne Hamilton said.
“The Frisco TMA is committed to identifying innovative mobility solutions and determining cost-effective methods of operations for the future,” Hamilton said. “The [Drive.ai] pilot program was extremely successful, and the Frisco TMA has identified key learnings to inform future mobility options that would be a good fit for the city of Frisco.”
The city of Frisco is already searching for additional grants to bring more autonomous vehicles to the city, said Brian Moen, Frisco assistant director of transportation.
The city applied March 21 for a grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation that would fund projects across the county that test the safe integration of automated driving systems on roadways, Moen said.
Moen also said the city is also working to survey all of the Drive.ai users. The city will compile the results in April and release the findings sometime in May.
Drive.ai provided service to 5,000 unique riders during the eight-month pilot program, according to a news release. The program was expected to be available to 10,000 people when it launched in July 2018, according to a previous Community Impact Newspaper story.