Nutonomy has launched the world’s first-ever self-driving taxi service on the public roads of Singapore.
World’s first self-driving taxis have started picking up ‘real’ passengers in Singapore. Bringing the autonomous tech for taxis is a startup called NuTonomy. By doing that, NuTonomy has become the first service provider to have started ferrying people using autonomous cars beating Uber – which will be launching its self-driving taxi service in a few weeks’ time.
While the autonomous taxis have hit the road, there’s a catch here. Nutonomy has been privately testing autonomous taxis in Singapore since April this year. Now after a few months of assessment, the company has put six autonomous cars in Singapore city’s One-North business district, albeit in a limited area. Which means that these self-driving taxis are not working full time around the city like normal cabs. Next up is the ride, which is free, but only to a selected riders. Third, while the car drives by itself, it will always have an engineer sitting behind the wheel to monitor the progress of all the systems and sensors. Also, just in case there’s a loss of control, he can be of some help. It may not be a fully-functional operation just as yet, but nuTonomy claims that by 2018 it will have a whole fleet of autonomous taxis in the country.
The cars that are being used for the job here are Renault Zoe or Mitsubishi i-MiEV cars that have been heavily modified for the job. Nutonomy will continue to offer these free rides to passengers since the whole operation is being run as a trial at the moment. In the future though, the company estimates that its self-driving taxis have the potential to reduce the number of cars from 900,000 to 300,000 in Singapore alone. Now whether Nutonomy can deliver on its promise or not, that’s something only time will tell. But for what Nutonomy has demonstrated with its self-driving taxis now, it’s mighty impressive!