Austin looking into autonomous shuttles

Arlington is using autonomous shuttles for short trips, and Austin is looking into the technology.

Autonomous transportation is something that has been a fascinating concept for quite a while, but now it is become a reality for one Texas city and a possibility for Austin.

Arlington is claiming to be the first city in the nation to officially endorse self-driving transportation. In August, the city launched "MILO" from the French company Easymile. This autonomous shuttle hits a cruising speed of about 15 mph and usually takes people short distances -- around 2-3 miles. The city of Arlington is leasing the vehicles for $270,000.

Tom Bamonte of North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) says this type of low-speed transportation is gaining momentum.

"We need ways to move people," Bamonte said. "I think the whole state will embrace this."

After just three months of this service in place, representatives from Houston, Corpus Christi and Austin have all reached out to North Texas transportation leaders to see about bringing this program to their respective city.

"Everyone is trying to solve problems like how do you get people to the last mile to and from transit," Bamonte said.

Experts predict this type of self-driving technology will improve quickly and devices like MILO will be changing just as fast.

"MILO will be like that first brick of a smartphone," Bamonte said.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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