An engineer will ride in the vehicle to observe performance and assume control if required to ensure comfort and safety
Singapore is understood to be the first country in the world to carry out a public trial of a self-driving taxi service.
The taxis operated by nuTonomy, a developer of state-of-the art software for self-driving cars, can be hailed within Singapore’s one-north business district, where the company has been conducting daily autonomous vehicle (AV) testing since April.
A select group of Singaporean residents will be able to use nuTonomy’s ride-hailing smartphone app to book free rides in the company’s self-driving vehicles.
According to nuTonomy, its so-called ‘robo-taxi’ service will use specially configured Renault Zoe or Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric vehicles, equipped with sophisticated software, which has been integrated with high-performance sensing and computing components.
Throughout the trial, nuTonomy will collect and evaluate valuable data related to software system performance, vehicle routing efficiency, the vehicle booking process, and the overall passenger experience. NuTonomy said this data will enable it to refine its software in preparation for the introduction of a widely-available commercial robo-taxi service in the republic by 2018.
A nuTonomy engineer will ride in the vehicle to observe system performance and assume control if needed to ensure passenger comfort and safety.
“[Our] 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 Karl Iagnemma, co-founder and CEO, nuTonomy. “The trial represents an extraordinary opportunity to collect feedback from riders in a real-world setting, and this feedback will give [us] a unique advantage as we work toward deployment of a self-driving vehicle fleet in 2018.”
Alongside Singapore, nuTonomy is operating self-driving cars in Michigan and the UK, where it is testing software in partnership with major automotive manufacturers including Jaguar Land Rover.
Earlier this month, nuTonomy was selected by the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) as an R&D partner, to support development of a commercial AV service in Singapore. This trial represents the first outcome of this partnership.
In May 2016, nuTonomy completed a $16m series A funding led by Highland Capital Partners that included participation from Fontinalis Partners, Signal Ventures, Samsung Ventures, and EDBI, the corporate investment arm of Singapore’s Economic Development Board