Singapore streets welcome self-driving taxis


Self-driving cars and taxis are the buzz of the industry. Everyone seems to be doing it, trying grab headlines with every step forward or new trial phase.

But the real deal always seemed to be still years in the future.
Now, here in Singapore, you can in fact hop into a driverless taxi and go for a ride. And it’s even free.

But hold your horses, it’s still only a trial. It does, though, take things a wee bit further than what we’ve seen from the big car makers, Google or ride-hailing giant Uber.

A truly driverless ride?

Well, sort of. Given that it is a trial, there’s of course still a driver in the front.

But the cars are doing the driving themselves, and the driver is only there to monitor the performance and as a backup in case something goes wrong.

Who’s behind it?

It is not any of the big names of the car industry who we know are all pushing the technology in their research and development departments.

It’s a company called nuTonomy, a US-based start-up developer of software for self-driving cars. The company was founded in 2013 by two MIT researchers specializing in robotics and driverless technology. The firm has offices both in the US and in Singapore.

Earlier this year, nuTonomy was the first company to get permission from the Singapore government to test self-driving cars in a small area of the town. It’s now begun tests with passengers.

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