AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Lyft users can now let robots take the wheel. Starting Thursday, the rideshare app offered customers the option of getting a ride from one of its autonomous vehicles for the same price as a regular ride.
Lyft has partnered with Argo AI to put its autonomous Ford Escape Hybrids on the road. Austin is the second city where the company has offered driverless rides after Miami, which launched the service in December 2021.
If a Ford AV is available, customers will be able to select the option on the Lyft mobile app. When the vehicle arrives, the rider can unlock the doors via the app to begin the ride.
The self-driving option will be offered during daytime for the time being.
If stepping into a robot car alone sounds scary, rest assured, because now the vehicles will be occupied by two security operators monitoring the ride.
Argo and Lyft have not said when they plan to remove the safety operators, but the company has been testing fully autonomous rides without customers since May.
In addition to being the tech capital of Texas, Austin’s regulatory environment makes it relatively receptive to robotaxi services.
A 2017 law allows self-driving vehicles to be used on streets and highways as long as they obey traffic laws, use video recording and have insurance like other cars. The manufacturers are responsible for any broken traffic laws or collisions.