More Boston drivers will soon be mixing it up with self-driving Renault Zoe test cars now that nuTonomy, an autonomous-driving tech company, has permission to test its vehicles throughout the city. For the past 18 months, nuTonomy had been testing only in Boston's Seaport District. This makes nuTonomy the only company allowed to operate self-driving cars anywhere in the city. nuTonomy also is working with Lyft to offer self-driven rides within the city.
The City of Boston said it granted wider permission to nuTonomy based on the tech company's solid safety record. "Working collaboratively with nuTonomy over the past two years, we have monitored [its] progress through the testing process and we are confident in the company's commitment to safety," Boston Transportation Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca said in a statement.
Why Boston? The city has a mandate called Go Boston 2030 that seeks to, among other goals, "substantially reduce collisions on every street" and "eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries in Boston." One step toward those aspirations is encouraging the development and use of self-driving vehicles. "The technology is capable of significantly enhancing mobility for Boston residents, particularly for senior citizens and people with disabilities," the City said in a statement.
nuTonomy operates Renault Zoe all-electric hatchbacks in Boston. Its cars always have two staffers on board to monitor the car and its performance. nuTonomy's parent company, Aptiv, has also deployed a fleet of 30 self-driving prototypes with Lyft in Las Vegas. nuTonomy also operates a self-driving test fleet in Singapore.