French autonomous car manufacturer Navya has slotted its self-driving hardware into a fully-autonomous taxi.
The pure-electric Autonom Cab has room for six passengers, and hits 55mph (89km/h) given enough room. Oh, and it'll be on the roads next year.
Central to the car's operation is the array of sensors scattered around its exterior. Along with 10 Lidar sensors, there are six cameras, four radars and an onboard computer to manage it all. Navya says its mapping software also provides backup, although information from the vision system takes precedence.
As a result, the car is Level 4 autonomous – at least – making it more capable than any other autonomous vehicle on the road, barring the Waymo testers rolling around Phoenix. Although it's capable of hitting 55mph, the car is expected to average around 30mph (48km/h) around bustling city streets.
Because it was designed from scratch as an autonomous vehicle, the cabin doesn't house a steering wheel or pedals. There's also no sleazy driver, determined to take you the longest, slowest route home, which can only be a good thing.
"Imagine what cities would be like if there were nothing but Autonoms running on the road. No more traffic jams or parking problems, fewer accidents and less pollution,” said Navya CEO, Christophe Sapet.
"At Navya, we recognize that the status of individual cars is rapidly changing, especially among younger generations, many of whom don’t have their driver’s license and are less attached to the concept of owning a car. What they want are mobility solutions available 24/7, ensuring their safety and well-being at a reduced cost."
At the moment, the company has partnerships with KEOLIS in Europe and the USA, along with the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) in Australia. These pairings mean the cab could, potentially, be on the roads in the second quarter of 2018.
Users will be able to order the car through an app, and simply hop into the cars for their ride. No word on whether the car will have to rate the rider on a scale from one to five, but we'd be disappointed if that wasn't the case.
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