While the world is intensely focused, with no small amount of hand-wringing, on the future of autonomous consumer cars, self-driving vehicles are quietly deploying in certain cities. They're not really the types of vehicles we think of when discussing the dangers and ethics of driverless cars, and they're pretty warmly welcomed in the communities they serve. They're also, at least for now, more limited in their capabilities, servicing fixed routes (sometimes not even roads shared with other traffic) at slow speeds. Still, they're popping up around the world and giving rides with no human driver at the wheel.

The latest city to benefit from autonomous vehicles is Arlington, Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys football team and Texas Rangers baseball team. Beginning August 26, the French-made EasyMile electric shuttles will operate in the City's Entertainment District on days of Rangers and Cowboys games, as well as during concerts and other events at the stadiums. The Milo shuttles, as they're called, will operate on fixed routes on paved trails near the venues. They're free to ride, can seat 12 people, and are wheelchair accessible. These shuttles can go up to 20 miles per hour, but will only operate at 10 to 12 mph. They're able to stop for pedestrians or other obstacles on their own, but the shuttles will also have a certified operator on board to hit the stop button if needed.

The city says this is a pilot program that will run through mid-2018, as Arlington explores the possibility of using autonomous transportation technology in a larger setting. Transportation Advisory Committee Chair Bill Verkest is optimistic that people will come to trust the technology. "It's kind of like an airplane," he said. "At one time we didn't know if you could put a plane on automatic pilot and it would fly itself. Well, this is new technology and as technology improves, people accept it."

Arlington joins Ann Arbor in welcoming autonomous shuttles to its city. The University of Michigan is using vehicles made by Navya, another French company, to help students get around campus. In France, Delphi and Transdev are launching autonomous vehicle pilot programs, which will include driverless shuttles as well. Autonomous shuttles from EasyMile are also ferrying passengers in the Netherlands.

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