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First driverless taxis hit Singapore streets

'This is really a moment in history that's going to change how cities are built, how we really look at our surroundings,' nuTonomy executive Doug Parker said. Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters Singapore Aug 25, 2016, 11.08 AM (IST)
The world's first driverless taxis hit Singapore in a limited public trial on Thursday, reported Reuters. A full launch of the service is planned in 2018.

The trial rides were available to a select group invited by the developer, nuTonomy. Users had to download the app and then try out the taxi ride (for free) in a western Singapore hi-tech business district.

"This is really a moment in history that's going to change how cities are built, how we really look at our surroundings," nuTonomy executive Doug Parker told Reuters.

The trial rides took place in a Mitsubishi i-MiEv electric vehicle, with an engineer sitting behind the steering wheel to monitor the system and take control if necessary.

Parker, whose company has partnered with the Singapore government on the project, hopes to have 100 taxis working commercially in the Southeast Asian city state by 2018.

The trial is on an on-going basis, nuTonomy said, and follows private testing that began in April.

Nutonomy is one of several companies racing to launch self-driving vehicles, with automakers and technology firms striking new alliances.

Swedish automaker Volvo AB said last week it had agreed to a $300-million alliance with ride-hailing service Uber to develop a driverless vehicle.

Israeli driving assistant software maker Mobileye NV said its vehicle, developed with Delphi Automotive Plc, would be ready for production by 2019, while Ford Motor Co said its self-driving car was slated for 2021.

(Reuters)
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