AUSTIN (KXAN) — Whether you love them or hate them, driverless vehicles are expanding operations across Austin.
According to a recent city memo, approximately 125 autonomous vehicles from three companies are currently in commercial or testing phases.
For some, this brings about the question of what folks can do to stay safe while sharing the roads with these cars of the future.
Over the last decade, Austin-based Aceable has been educating and licensing drivers all across the state of Texas.
With many more autonomous vehicles rolling around, its CEO, Blake Garrett, believes driver education and certification will inevitably change.
“There’s a bit of a shock factor,” Garrett said. “So, if you see one, you must continue to drive. Then try to control what you can control and that’s making sure you’re aware of anybody impeding your progress as a driver.”
We also asked Garrett what to do if find yourself in a crash or collision with one of these autonomous vehicles.
“You can actually approach the vehicle,” he explained. “Its window will roll down and an operator will talk through a speaker from within the car in order to exchange insurance information.”
Last week, Cruise expanded its downtown service into daylight hours.
The autonomous vehicle company sent this statement to KXAN:
“Our internal service — only for Cruise employees — is now operating downtown from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. This is part of our methodical approach to safe operation, starting first with employee riders before opening up to members of the public. As with everything we do, we are starting small to closely monitor our progress before opening up service to members of the public.”
University of Texas at Austin junior Aiden Warnke is looking forward to more Cruise cars on the road.
“Traffic is caused by human error, like delayed reaction time,” Warnke said. “So, if you can minimize that variable, imagine how efficient our roads could be in the grand scheme of things. In the bigger picture, we’ll see pretty huge positive effects.”
This fall, Cruise also expanded its operations into East Austin.
This comes at the same time that two other driverless car operators — Waymo and Volkswagen — have ramped up operations in Austin.