Company beats Uber to the self-driving taxi punch
Ride-hailing company nuTonomy has gotten a head start over Uber by launching the first autonomous taxi service. Today, the company’s robo-taxis began transporting passengers on the streets of Singapore.
In the public trial, select Singapore residents are invited to use nuTonomy’s ride-hailing app to book a free ride in a self-driving car. On its website, the company allows people to request an invitation to ride in one of the cars, which travel in and around a single business district in Singapore. nuTonomy’s fleet consists of Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV vehicles configured for autonomous driving. During the rides, an engineer sits inside the vehicle with passengers to monitor the system and assume control if needed.
Said to be the first of its kind in the world, the ongoing public trial will help nuTonomy refine its technology for bigger plans it has in the next few years. By 2018, nuTonomy plans to launch a full-fledged self-driving taxi service on the streets of Singapore.
Uber also has plans to give rides in self-driving cars. The ride-hailing company will soon allow passengers to book rides in autonomous vehicles in Pittsburg. Customers will be able to request rides through the Uber app.
nuTonomy has tested its self-driving technology not only in Singapore, but also in Michigan and the U.K., where it uses its software on vehicles from Jaguar Land Rover. There’s no word if the company will offer public rides in self-driving cars outside of Singapore, however.