Arlington expanded its Drive.ai pilot program from three to seven autonomous vehicles on Monday.
The expansion is part of the first-year service and is a result of the program’s success, said Lyndsay Mitchell, city of Arlington strategic planning manager. The contract runs from October 2018 to September 2019.
Arlington City Council approved the one-year contract with Drive.ai in August, according to a city of Arlington news release.
Mitchell said Drive.ai’s routes run through the Entertainment District. The city would like new routes in the summer covering downtown Arlington and UTA.
“With the new vehicles here in town, that helps [the city] accelerate our mapping and testing,” she said.
With the program, she said the city hopes to educate and expose the public to autonomous vehicle transportation. It would also let other companies know their technology is welcome for testing in Arlington.
Amruta Sakalker, the Center for Transportation Equity, Decisions and Dollars student body president, said the center started researching Drive.ai as a transportation network company after the program came to Arlington.
Sakalker said the center found that Drive.ai and the Via Rideshare program do not coordinate transportation services for the city.
An update that could inform the public of where routes overlap would benefit the city’s overall transportation service.
Sakalker said Arlington expanding its transportation services is great. However, the city needs to look at a bigger, more encompassing and accessible mode of transportation.