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Nutonomy has begun what it claims to be the world’s first public self-driving taxi trial, beating Uber to the punch.

At present only “select Singapore residents” will be able to use Nutonomy’s smartphone app to book themselves a free taxi ride in a Renault Zoe or Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which has been kitted out with the company’s suite of detection and processing hardware, and self-driving software.

For safety, as well as to “ensure passenger comfort” and monitor performance, Nutonomy’s current fleet of taxis will also feature a engineer sitting in the driver’s seat.

The public trial, which began today, is restricted to the One-North business district, which is about nine kilometres west of the Singapore’s CBD.

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If all goes well with the trial, Nutonomy plans to launch a “robo-taxi” service in the island nation in 2018.

In addition to being the only company, so far, permitted to operate autonomous vehicles in Singapore, Nutonomy is also testing its technology in Michigan and the United Kingdom, where it says that it’s working with Jaguar Land Rover.

Nutonomy is a startup firm specialising in self-driving car technology, and was founded by Karl Iagnemma and Emilio Frazzoli, both of whom previously worked at MIT.

MORE: Autonomous vehicle news




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