As far as moving ahead with technology is concerned, Singapore is no more behind when compared with many big players in the world. This is why on August 26 nuTonomy chose the soil of Singapore for the first-ever public trial of its robo-taxi services leaving these players way behind. The foundation of nuTonomy was laid in 2013 by ex-MIT engineers and it is manufacturing autonomous cars in Singapore since quite long. The makers have been making their driverless cars undergo trials in the city state. They have also started the trial in a restricted 2.5-square-mile residential and business district known as one-north. They have been conducting this run since April. However, the pick-up and drop-off facility has been kept limited to the specific locations by the company.
This trial has been very successful for nuTonomy and they are overwhelmed with the amazing response they have received. The run was so buzzing that even Mashable tried to seek a ride, but could not get it due to battery drain. However, nuTonomy ensured their ride the next day. Now, nuTonomy has decided to invite selected members from the entire city to book a free ride in their car using the company’s ride-hailing smartphone application. Riders can go for either with Renault Zoe or Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric vehicle specifically configured for autonomous driving.
nuTonomy also puts a lot of endeavors to ensure passenger safety as well as comfort and for that nuTonomy has made an engineer ride in the car to monitor system performance and get control in hand if required. During the trial, nuTonomy will gather and assess the data linked with software system performance, the vehicle booking procedure, vehicle routing efficiency, and the overall passenger experience with the aim to launch a commercial robo-taxi service in 2018.
This experiment of nuTonomy with their autonomous car is a straight reflection of the level of maturity the company has gained with its AV software system. In addition, this trial provides nuTonomy a chance to gather feedback from riders in real-world surroundings, and thus nuTonomy will get a distinct benefit as they endeavor towards the deployment of a self-driving vehicle fleet in 2008.
On 18 August, when it was announced by Uber on 18 August that it will allow public call self-driving taxis in Pittsburgh before a month ends. A few autonomous vehicle specialists were surprised that it is taking place very early.
Actually, the giant taxi owner has been outstripped by nuTonomy, which is a small MIT spin-out who has already been running electric self-driving cabs for real customers in Singapore Business Park. In the beginning, riders will use nuTonomy’s own app to call these driverless taxis.
This experiment is the first of its kind across all five continents that any maker is seeking transportation business from a robotic vehicle on public roads. There will be no charge paid by the riders during such trials.
During the trial, one of the personnel from nuTonomy shared his views that many people would like boarding this type of cars, some will be neutral and a few will have a negative feedback for the experiment. But the number of those who dislike it may be 5 percent or 50 percent. Our aim is to get that number and other service providers would also be interested in the same.
The fund of $3.6m has been announced by nuTonomy in January, and it was further increased up to $16m in May by venture capitalists including Ford chairman Bill Ford and the government of Singapore. Along with Google and Uber, nuTonomy is assured that actual advantages of autonomous technology will only be visible in its proper shape when humans will no more have to touch its brake pedal and steering wheel.
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