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All-electric self-driving cars are hitting the streets of Singapore for nuTonomy’s robotaxi project


It’s an exciting time in the autonomous driving space. While companies are making announcements about upcoming systems available in 2019, like Mobileye and Delphi, and in 2021, like Ford, some are already having trial projects with customers in public streets, like Uber in Pittsburgh.

Today, nuTonomy announced the start of its own public self-driving car trial in the streets of Singapore, and EV enthusiasts will be happy to know that they are using all-electric vehicles.

nuTonomy, an MIT startup, outfitted Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV cars with its custom sensor suite to test out its autonomous driving software.

The trial is a lot similar to what Uber is doing Pittsburgh, meaning customers will be invited to use nuTonomy’s ride-hailing app to book a ride in the new cars at no-cost ride and like Uber, an engineer will be in the car to monitor the system and take over control if needed.

The rides will also be limited to Singapore’s one-north business district where nuTonomy has been conducting daily testing since April.

CEO and co-founder of nuTonomy, Karl Iagnemma, on the announcement:

“nuTonomy’s first-in-the-world public trial is a direct reflection of the level of maturity that we have achieved with our AV software system. The trial represents an extraordinary opportunity to collect feedback from riders in a real-world setting, and this feedback will give nuTonomy a unique advantage as we work toward deployment of a self-driving vehicle fleet in 2018.”

It is one of the most aggressive official timeline for deployment so far. Google has informally talked about 2018 for the commercialization of its system and of course, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been dropping hints of a fully autonomous system by 2017-2018, but again without anything official.

The company released a quick promo video for the trial:

While a very young company, nuTonomy has been moving fast with a $16 million Series A round of funding closed in May and it has a partnership with Jaguar Land Rover to develop autonomous driving in the UK. It is also testing self-driving cars in Michigan.

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