Now comes the self-driving taxis, debut in Singapore

  • Page Views 2474
  • The world’s first self-driving taxis are picking up passengers in Singapore.

    Select members of the public began hailing free rides Thursday through their smartphones in taxis operated by nuTonomy, an autonomous vehicle software startup. While multiple companies, including Google and Volvo, have been testing self-driving cars on public roads for several years, nuTonomy says it is the first to offer rides to the public. It beat ride-hailing service Uber, which plans to offer rides in autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, by a few weeks.

    The service is starting small — six cars now, growing to a dozen by the end of the year. The ultimate goal, say nuTonomy officials, is to have a fully self-driving taxi fleet in Singapore by 2018, which will help sharply cut the number of cars on Singapore’s congested roads. Eventually, the model could be adopted in cities around the world, nuTonomy says.

    For now, the taxis are only running in a 2.5-square-mile business and residential district called “one-north,” and pick-ups and drop-offs are limited to specified locations. And riders must have an invitation from nuTonomy to use the service. The company says dozens have signed up for the launch, and it plans to expand that list to thousands of people within a few months.

    The cars — modified Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV electrics — have a driver in front who is prepared to take back the wheel and a researcher in back who watches the car’s computers. Each car is fitted with six sets of Lidar — a detection system that uses lasers to operate like radar — including one that constantly spins on the roof. There are also two cameras on the dashboard to scan for obstacles and detect changes in traffic lights.

    The testing time-frame is open-ended, said nuTonomy CEO Karl Iagnemma. Eventually, riders may start paying for the service, and more pick-up and drop-off points will be added. NuTonomy also is working on testing similar taxi services in other Asian cities as well as in the U.S. and Europe, but he wouldn’t say when.

    “I don’t expect there to be a time where we say, ‘We’ve learned enough,'” Iagnemma said.

    Doug Parker, nuTonomy’s chief operating officer, said autonomous taxis could ultimately reduce the number of cars on Singapore’s roads from 900,000 to 300,000.

    “When you are able to take that many cars off the road, it creates a lot of possibilities. You can create smaller roads, you can create much smaller car parks,” Parker said. “I think it will change how people interact with the city going forward.” (By Annabelle Liang and Dee-Ann Durbin ,PS)

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • Nathan Longchallon
      18 September 2020
      22 hours ago No comment

      Missing Man in Burnaby: Nathan Longchallon, 26

      The Burnaby RCMP is requesting the public’s assistance in locating 26-year-old Nathan Longchallon. Nathan was last seen walking north bound on Patterson Avenue near Victory Street in Burnaby at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Nathan is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a slender build, ...

    • 17 September 2020
      2 days ago No comment

      B.C. election looms, while chance of federal election lessens

      B.C.’s next provincial election is scheduled to happen on October 16, 2021. But it could take place earlier if the B.C. NDP government of Premier John Horgan decides to call an election earlier. Or if the Horgan government loses the confidence of the legislative assembly. By many indications, Horgan ...

    • 17 September 2020
      2 days ago No comment

      Dr. Theresa Tam’s update on COVID-19 

      Ottawa, ON – Public Health Agency of Canada In lieu of an in-person update to the media, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement: “There have been 138,803 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,188 deaths. 88% of people have now recovered. Labs across ...

    • 17 September 2020
      2 days ago No comment

      Prime Minister announces next steps for Safe Restart Agreement

      As we move into the fall and the world continues to deal with the impacts of COVID-19, the Government of Canada remains focused on keeping Canadians safe and healthy, while continuing to ensure they have the supports needed during this global health and economic crisis. The Prime Minister, Justin ...

    • 17 September 2020
      2 days ago No comment

      Amal Clooney urges PH to protect press freedom, honor international commitments

      International human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin-Clooney on Tuesday urged the Philippine government to protect the free press and honor its international commitments on human rights. Speaking before Philippine business leaders in an online forum, Clooney said, “if you want to have a functioning democracy, protect the press. To protect ...

    %d bloggers like this: