Singapore is taking the next step in the move towards self-driving vehicles with the world's first public trial of self-driving taxis.
Robo-taxis developed by nuTonomy, a Massachusetts based transportation software firm, will operate autonomously in a Singapore business district on a trial basis beginning Thursday. The vehicles will be specially configured Renault and Mitsubishi models. A select number of Singapore residents will use nuTonomy's smartphone app to hail a robo-taxi for a ride at no charge.
"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," said Karl Iagnemma, CEO and co-founder of nuTonomy.
While the plan is for the robo-taxis' software to make all decisions on the movement of the vehicles, there will be a nuTonomy engineer riding in the front seat to take control if needed.