Self-driving taxis are now a reality, at least in one small area in Singapore.
Startup company nuTonomy has begun the first-ever public trial of a service it calls “robo-taxi,” allowing Singapore residents to summon a ride using an app. An engineer from the company will ride in the vehicle, ready to take over at all times, while also observing system performance.
Rides will be given in specially prepared Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV vehicles, limited to Singapore’s one-north business district. The company says it has been testing the cars in the area since April and that the data collected from its self-driving cars will help the brand refine its software moving into the future.
The company’s goal is to have a widely-available commercial robo-taxi service by 2018.
The brand’s “first-in-the-world public trial is a direct reflection of the level of maturity that we have achieved with our AV software system,” said CEO and co-founder of nuTonomy, Karl Iagnemma. “The trial represents an extraordinary opportunity to collect feedback from riders in a real-world setting, and this feedback will give nuTonomy a unique advantage as we work toward deployment of a self-driving vehicle fleet in 2018.”
Self-driving cars from nuTonomy are also being testing in Michigan and the United Kingdom.