The autonomous auto maker, Cruise, is taking to Texas to continue further testing for its vehicles. Austin in particular has been their biggest testing city in the state, having around 125 vehicles in the testing stage in the city. This number is one that came from the Austin Transportation and Public Works Department in a memorandum. That being said, there has been no formal calculation of all of the autonomous cars in the state, but it is likely several hundred at least, if not a number as high as one thousand. This number is likely quite high because there are several different companies all testing around the state.
Cruise is joined by Kodiak, Aurora, Waabi, Torc, Plus.AI, Gatik, Volkswagen, Waymo, Starship, Kiwibot, Coco, Refraction.AI, Nuro, and Clevon.
Contrary to popular belief and/or knowledge, autonomous cars have been around for quite some time. They were actively being worked on and pursued as early as 2017, in Texas at least, because that is when Senate Bill 2205 was passed and took effect. This Senate Bill, which went into action in September, is what legalized self-driving cars in the state. This bill shifted Texas laws as it set the ground rules for something that had not quite actually been designed at all. Most auto companies simply had plans of pursuing driverless car manufacturing.
Part of the Senate Bill 2205 was the establishment of the rule that stated that individual cities were not allowed to create any legislation on driverless cars. They did this as they were hopeful that many manufacturers would remain in or even move to Texas. The state officials wanted to boost the development of technology in Texas and thus had to ban cities from being able to stop this.
Officials believed individual city laws would hinder and slow down the auto industry.
It is important to know that these driverless cars may lack a driver, but do not lack in proper licensing. All autonomous vehicles, before hitting the streets for broader testing, are required to pass an inspection and obtain proper licensing.
Many of the manufacturers have apps they use to allow people to book rides using one of the vehicles. They work in a similar way to apps like “Uber.” Cruise uses the app “Cookie.” In Austin, between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., you can even hail the car the old-fashioned way.