Singapore became the first country to truly employ an autonomous vehicle on its roads. The world first self-driving taxis will start taking passengers from today, although, the service is currently available to a select few who can get free rides, by booking through their smartphones. The service is operated by a company called nuTonomy, a software startup in the autonomous vehicle space. The company seems to have beaten up-start startup, Uber, in bringing self-driving vehicles to the public domain. Of course, nuTonomy’s service seems to be in the testing phase, still.
The company is starting with six cars right now, but hopes to double that number by the end of the year. Also, the hailing of self-driving cabs is currently limited to the business district in Singapore. The cars being used include the Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi iMieV. Engineers from the company will be sitting in the cars in order to observe their performance and ensure customer safety. These engineers will take over the driving if needed.
The self-driving venture from nuTonomy has been ongoing for a while now. The company started out of MIT, and received a $16 million funding in May. It has reportedly been working closely with the Singapore government in order to get its self-driving cars out on the road. Just like Uber’s tests in Pittsburgh, nuTonomy is also testing in Singapore, but with a real, but limited, service.
Image Source: nuTonomy