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Singapore's Nutonomy brings World's first self-driving car-sharing business to everyone
Uber announced last week that it would deploy some Volvo XC90s SUVs outfitted
with radar, cameras, lidar etc, in Pittsburgh where passengers can book a ride
from their smartphones and the automated cars would show up and chauffeur them
to their destination under its self-driving car-sharing service, starting later
this month. Uber says, among other things, that it is entering the self-driving
space to overtake the leader in this field Google in cab and bring driverless
cars to consumers faster. However, an unknown company just beat the two giants
to the punch in the self-driving car-sharing business.
A self-driving car start-up known as Nutonomy has started a ride-sharing
business in Singapore with vehicles that can drive by themselves, allowing
locals to commute to their places of work in a driverless taxicab--something
many thought was confined only to the realm of science fiction. NuTonomy is the
first company in the world to bring a self-driving taxicab service to market.
Unlike Uber, which plans to roll out 100 Volvo XC90 SUVs for its self-driving
car-sharing service in the first phase, Nutonomy is starting small in that it
has only six vehicles, which comprise of Mitsubishi i-Mi and Renault Zoe
electric vehicles, and hopes to increase the number to 12 before the year runs
out. Only a few people will get a chance to take a ride in Nutonomy's self-
driving taxis-which means the service is free for now.NuTonomy says it will
extend its invitation to thousands of Singaporeans in the coming months.
Safety drivers will always be in the self-driving taxis in Singapore. One will
be in the driver's seat to take over the steering wheel just in case something
unplanned happens and another driver will be in the back seat with other
passengers entering data gathered from the trip onto a computer.
A lucky 25-year-old Singaporean named Olivia Seon shared her experience riding
in the self-driving taxi. She said she was surprised to see the steering wheel
turning by itself(she even thought a ghost was in the driver's seat doing the
driving) and was amazed at how the autonomous taxi cab recognized birds,
cyclists, human driven cars etc far away--things she herself could't see with
her eyes and concluded that she trusts driverless automobiles so much so that
she hopes to use the service to get her old man around town easily.Her first
ride in a self automated car was a memorable one.
The young Singaporean self-driving startup, which beats Google and Uber at their
own game, says it would take its autonomous ride-sharing taxi service to other
nations, including the United States of America. However NuTonomy did not reveal
when it will do so.