Inside, a screen shows passengers what the car sees…
When asked if he has any safety concerns with the pilot program’s launch, Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said, “I feel very strongly that this is very much a test and to get pubic acceptance, but when we come back and look at Frisco five years from now, ten years from now, these will be all over our roads.”
Testing self-driving cars on public roads remains controversial, as federal regulations are stalled on Capitol Hill. Recent polls show nearly 70 percent of Americans are uncomfortable sharing the road with an autonomous vehicle. Only 21 percent say they’d be likely to ride in one.
“They should be using proving grounds right now; it’s simply too dangerous,” said Automotive News editor-in-chief Keith Crain. “Proving grounds are the place to test unproven technology. There’s a lot of great stuff in the autonomous vehicle, but we don’t know if they work yet.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Thompson went from skeptic to super-fan in about two miles.
Van Cleave said, “It’s trippy to be in the car that’s driving itself.”
“It’s very trippy,” Thompson said. “I would hop in this without a driver in a heartbeat, I’m that confident, and we’ve been in doing this for a couple minutes.”
If the six-month pilot goes well, the plan is to expand the service to more of Frisco, and make the program a permanent fixture there.