Self-driving taxis have started picking up passengers in Singapore starting last week, reports the Inquirer. The service is currently available to a limited members of the public, although the ride, operated by nuTonomy, will be free.
NuTonomy is an autonomous vehicle software startup which currently has only 6 cars on the street, with plans to double the number by the end of the year. The company mentions its ultimate goal is to have self-driving taxi fleets to help reduce traffic in Singapore. As of now, the self-driving taxis only run in a 6.5 sqkm business and residential district called “one-north”, with the company providing users with invitations to experience the ride.
Uber’s autonomous cars: Interestingly, earlier this month Uber said it would launch its self-driving cars in the US as soon ass this month. The company had mentioned that it would deploy around 100 modified Volvo XC90s outfitted with self-driving equipment to kick off the project. It also acquired the self-driving driving truck technology company Otto, to help with its autonomous plans.
The race for autonomous cars in the US:
– Most recently, Google, Uber, Lyft, Volvo and Ford created a coalition called The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets to influence lawmakers, regulators and the public with respect to autonomous vehicle technology.
– Earlier this month, Apple pumped in $1 billion in Didi Chuxing (formerly known as Didi Kuaidi) to understand the Chinese market and make future collaborations. Apple would merge some products into Didi, while also partner with other companies for self driving cars.
– Volkswagen invested $300 million in Gett, a ridesharing and taxi service company.
– Ford showed off its self drive car which sees at night last month.
– In January, General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft, Uber’s US competitor, for developing autonomous vehicle networks.
– Tesla’s cars also have self-driving options, for which the company charges an extra $3,500 per car. The company also plans to sell its cars in India and is taking pre-orders for a $1,000 reservation price. Note that the Model 3 is set for launch in late 2017, and is likely be delivered to pre-order customers outside the US by 2018.