The Lion City is now roaring with the launch of world’s first self driving taxi service. “nuTonomy”, an MIT based startup spinoff has launched this service in Singapore from Thursday, 25th August 2016. Operating on Renault and Mitsubishi cars, these self driving Robo taxis would operate on a public trial basis.
The launch comes puts nuTonomy ahead of Uber, who too is planning to launch its own self driving taxis. This debut of a self driving taxi also deserves an applaud for the Singapore authorities who have welcomed a USA based startup with great enthusiasm.
What is nuTonomy?
As self evident from the name, the word nuTonomy is improvised form of the word “autonomy”. Founded in 2013, it is an autonomous robot and self driving car software start up. It secured a high end $16 million funding in Series A, this May.
nuTonomy aims to have thousands of self driving Robo taxis in Singapore by 2019. Launching a open to public trial service in 2016 not only puts them ahead of all competitors, but also gives them ample time to improve on their services.
What Comes Next for nuTonomy?
As of now, these Robo taxis are limited to the business district area, One North in Singapore. This area is spread over 2.5Km and these Robo taxis would be operated exclusively in this area.
In this trial mode, it has earned R&D support from Singapore’s Land Transport Authority. This also makes them the only private company in Singapore to achieve such direct support from the government. A clear sign of how optimistic and open minded are authorities there.
It is simply marvelous to see a three year old company been able to achieve so much results in really less time. However, it would be further interesting to see how the test runs pan out and what glitches nuTonomy faces.
Singapore is not even 750 sq. km. in its area and has high end connectivity options too. Moreover, the roadmap has evolved well and GPS is fairly accurate. A Perfect evolution hub for nuTonomy, isn’t it? As far as the testing location is concerned, Delphi is also expected to start soon its self driving car campaign in the coming months.
The principles of an autonomous vehicle are highly dynamic. From judging obstacle to avoid it or stopping at traffic jams or signals, the response should be quick and error free. Other factors like weather, precipitation, vehicle maintenance also require monitoring simultaneously. It is a capital intensive, toiling task that has no boundaries and would always evolve. Let’s see what other companies like Google, Uber, Ford etc. perform in this new tech niche.