World's first self-driving taxi service was on 25 August 2016 launched in Singapore. With this, Singapore became the first country in the world to launch such service, beating Uber Technologies Inc by mere days to public road tests of a technology that could revolutionize the transport industry.
The trial, although small, illustrates how intense the global race to develop autonomous driving vehicles has become.
Highlights of the Self-Driving Taxi Service
• Singapore based nuTonomy began testing a free taxi-hailing service in a small business district in Singapore called one-north, a campus-like space dominated by tech firms and biotechnology companies.
• The trial was given the approval of the Singapore government, which has long sought to turn the city-state into a hub for disruptive technology through firms like nuTonomy.
• NuTonomy’s test vehicles, a Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car, will have a computer engineer and backup human driver during the trial phase in case anything goes wrong.
• These vehicles can be hailed by select members of the public using a smartphone app.
• The company will also test its vehicles on a 6 kilometer (3.7 mile) route.
Other firms, most notably Alphabet’s Google, have already clocked millions of miles on public roads with their autonomous vehicles. Launch of this service beats the taxi giant Uber Technologies Inc which was about to begin trials of its own self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh by the end of August 2016.
Other tech companies including Chinese internet giant Baidu Inc. have been testing self-driving cars on the roads for years, but this is the first time the vehicles have been open to public use.
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When: 25 August 2016