Move over Uber, the newest transport disruptor is here. On a trial basis, at least.
Starting on Thursday, some residents of Singapore will be able to take taxi rides in self-driving cars. It's brought to the Asian nation by US-based nuTonomy.
The Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-Miev taxis will be hailed using an invite-only app. Perhaps to help give peace of mind to all customers, a nuTonomy engineer will be in each car to make sure the ride is smooth and to take manual control if need be.
It's a limited trial, though. These autonomous taxis, while free, will only commute through Singapore's one-north business district.
The startup, which in May received $16 million in funding, is narrowly beating Uber to the punch. The ride-sharing giant reportedly hopes to trial autonomous vehicles in downtown Pittsburgh sometime this month. Uber hopes that a fully autonomous Volvo will be a staple of its Pittsburgh fleet by the end of the year.
It's not the first self-driving taxi trial, however, withearlier this year, courtesy of phone company DeNA.
"The trial represents an extraordinary opportunity to collect feedback from riders in a real-world setting," said Karl Iagnemma, CEO and co-founder of nuTonomy. "This feedback will give nuTonomy a unique advantage as we work toward deployment of a self-driving vehicle fleet in 2018."