Self-driving cars may hit San Antonio roads faster than other places, according to a Texas Public Radio report.
Two autonomous vehicle companies, Waymo and startup company Drive.AI approached city officials over the past month, according to city of San Antonio staff.
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“They kind of have a detailed process with their own [Request for Proposal],” said Art Reinhardt with the city’s Transportation & Capital Improvement Department.
Reinhardt said the city would have to apply to Waymo, which is owned by Google, to have its cars tested on San Antonio streets. Waymo’s autonomous vehicles have driven 5 million miles across 25 cities, according to a Medium report.
Office of Innovation Director Jose De La Cruz said the city would have to apply with Waymo before its mid-April deadline.
The U.S. Department of Transportation named Texas an autonomous vehicle proving ground in December 2016. San Antonio, along with eight other Texas cities, three research institutions and 32 transportation agencies applied jointly for the designation.
The city suggested Fredericksburg Road from medical center to downtown as an ideal testing route, citing its status as a busy thoroughfare featuring car, cyclist and pedestrian traffic.
However, not everyone in San Antonio is on board. District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez said experts and supporters would have to convince him self-driving vehicles are safe before he’d grant his approval.
“What I said was that over my dead body would we see autonomous vehicles traversing roads in District 8 unless I have had an opportunity to put my hands on those vehicles and really understand this technology better,” Pelaez said.
The City Council will consider applying to Waymo’s testing program while exploring projects with other self-driving vehicle companies in the near future.
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