Written by Evelyn Dunn, Staff Writer
Singapore became the first ever country to have a driverless taxi run its streets, an innovation that could possibly change the transportation industry forever. Who wouldn’t want to take a high tech ride like this?
The driverless taxi project was trialed by nuTonomy, a company that was founded by two MIT researchers. Karl Iagnemma and Doug Parker are excited that their invention can be tested by real people, so that they can get the best feedback for the upcoming debut.
According to The Straits Times, only one car has made it completely through the regulators test, a Mitsubishi i-MiEV. It has recently been taken on an official test drive with multiple passengers. Now, more models are undergoing inspections to join the team on the streets. The company anticipates to have over 50 models by 2018.
A selected few were invited to take a ride in the car. With a certified engineer behind the untouched wheel; passengers fought the apprehension and skepticism they had for the car before it took off, but reported that they were soon at ease. The car ran smoothly, and there were no hiccups during the test run, so everything was a success.
Parker explained to The Straits Times that it was ideal to have the trial testing done in Singapore because of their well-kept roads, the insistent demands for taxis in that area, and that the government protocols were very clear with what they can test in the trial. This way they would have no complications concerning the testing sight.
They have been testing the car since April, on a long stretch of road that is ideal for a simple test. According to The Straits Times, they had 12 different locations the taxi could drive you to. They went on to explain that the testing never occurred during busy traffic hours around those locations, in the interest of safety.
This new technology could even surpass Uber, which has been popular nationwide since 2009. According to Parker, the driverless taxi can be summoned for free by downloading their app on your smartphone, so the taxi can find your location with advanced software.
The company is anticipating to make the innovations final debut in 2018. They also told The Strait Times that they wish to introduce it to at least ten Asian and U.S. cities by that time as well. Parker also said that they would like to get new users to try out the driverless car, to get more insight on what can be improved.
So, should this great new technology be introduced to the USA? We’ve already heard about the self-parking cars and the automatic breaking mechanisms some feature. Why not have a car that has everything wrapped up into one great transportation system? One thing is clear folks, the future is here.