Massachusetts-based nuTonomy that develops and distributes software for perception, mapping, localization and decision-making
for self-driving cars has launched the first-ever public trial of a ‘robo-taxi’ service in Singapore. The company has entered into a partnership with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) to begin public trials of an autonomous mobility-on-demand transportation service, relying on the results of conducting daily autonomous vehicle (AV) testing since April. It seems nuTonomy has beaten the timelines of Uber-Volvo and Google, that have been planning to deploy driverless taxis for public testing.
How this trial is going to be deployed?
Selected Singapore residents will be invited to make use of nuTonomy’s ride-hailing smartphone app. That will enable the user to booka no-cost ride in a nuTonomy self-driving car that carries the company’s software and has been integrated with high-performance sensing and computing components. Renault Zoe or Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric vehicle are being used for the rides and these vehicles are specifically designed by nuTonomy for autonomous driving. According to the company, its engineer will ride in the vehicle to observe system performance and assume control if there is a need to ensure passenger comfort and safety.
With this trial, nuTonomy will gather and analyze data generated in order to track the performance, vehicle routing efficiency, the vehicle booking process, and the overall passenger experience. The company will be in a position to enhance and upgrade its software with this data as it is planning the launch of widely-available commercial robo-taxi service in Singapore in 2018.
Singapore, the new hub for ‘Driverless Cars’
Singapore’s LTA has always been active when it comes to deploying technology on the road. Recently, Singapore LTA partnered with Delphi Automotive
to roll out a small test by providing a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles and developing a cloud-based mobility-on-demand software (AMoD) suite. And now it has signed deal with nuTonomy, thus, it seems that Singapore is all set to welcome and execute the concept of driverless cars.
Iagnemma, an MIT researcher stated in Mashable
that Singapore is ideal because it has good weather, great infrastructure and drivers who tend to obey traffic rules. Singapore is also eyeing to grow its economy and has been supportive enough for autonomous vehicle research.
The drive for Driverless Cars
Delphi also joined forces with Mobileye
to build a driving platform, which they’re calling a, SAE (initially established as the Society of Automotive Engineers) Level 4 or 5 automated driving solution. The companies have announced the partnership to join automotive companies like Ford, BMW and Tesla in driving towards a driverless car experience.
According to a report in Wall Street Journal
, Other tech companies including Chinese internet giant Baidu have been testing self-driving cars on the roads for years, but this is the first time the vehicles have been open to public use.
CEO and co-founder of nuTonomy, Karl Iagnemma, said, “nuTonomy’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. 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.”
In addition to Singapore, nuTonomy is operating self-driving cars in Michigan and the United Kingdom, where it is testing software in partnership with major automotive manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover.