The world’s first public trial of self-driving car service and ride-hailing app has been announced in Singapore.
NuTomomy, a three-year-old company that span out of MIT announced in a press release that its self-driving cars would hit the roads of Singapore today, with only six autonomous vehicles — Renault Zoes and Mitsubishi i-MiEVs modified by NuTonomy — offering rides, and only then from predetermined pick-up and drop-off points within a 2.5-square-mile radius.
This trial means that NuTonomy has beaten ride-hailing giants, Uber to be the first firm to publicly test autonomous taxis. Uber announced last week that it would be putting its self-driving cars on the roads of Pittsburgh, America sometime this month.
While Uber’s taxis will be assigned to passengers at random, NuTonomy asked local residents to apply to join its pilot scheme before they can request a car. In both cases the rides are free, and the trial vehicles come with an engineer sitting behind the wheel, ready to take over, and a researcher in the back taking notes.
Earlier this month, nuTonomy was selected by the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) as an R&D partner, to support the development of a commercial AV service in Singapore making NuTonomy the first, and to date only, private enterprise approved by the Singapore government to test AVs on public roads.
CEO and co-founder of nuTonomy, Karl Iagnemma, said, “nuTonomy’s first-in-the-world public trial is a direct reflection of the level of maturity that we have achieved with our AV software system. 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.”
In May of this year, 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 dedicated corporate investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board.
— Stephan Tual (@stephantual) August 25, 2016