If you felt that Tesla’s Autopilot system wasn’t autonomous enough, here is some good news for you. Autonomous taxis are no more a thing of the distant future. nuTonomy, a US start up company has started testing driver-less taxis in the city of Singapore. This steals the thunder from Uber, who was planning to test their autonomous taxis in the city of Pittsburgh, USA just days after this venture.
The fleet consists of electric cars, Mitsubishi i-MiEVs and Renault Zoes, which will carry around a computer engineer and a backup human driver during the trial phase. This is to ensure the presence of a human override to handle the situation if something goes wrong. nuTonomy is testing their vehicles on a 6 km route in the one-north district of Singapore, which is a comparatively quieter area. According to Doug Parker, the chief operating officer of nuTonomy, Singapore government has laid out a few milestones that they have to achieve in order to expand the operations to the other part of the city, but he was reluctant to give away the details regarding the same.
The news from the other side of the world is on the same page as well. The American private-taxi giant Uber has now started testing its fleet of autonomous Ford Fusions in the city of Pittsburgh. In the first stage, 1000 selected Uber customers will get to experience this futuristic ride in public. An engineer and a driver will occupy the car for ensuring safety. Uber claims that they have done 18 months of extensive testing with these cars before putting them on the streets. Though with some glitches, Wall Street Journal reported that these taxis operated well in the real world conditions. Raffi Krikorian, director of Uber’s Pittsburgh Advanced Technologies Centre said that Uber is learning rapidly to rectify any problems as soon as possible.