The field of self-driving vehicles being tested on American roadways just got a little larger as nuTonomy, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based start-up company, plans to run its Renault Zoe around Boston.
The company, which counts Bill Ford’s Fontinalis Partners equity firm as an investor, has already been running its “robo taxi” all over Singapore for several months now. In fact, it offered users free rides to encourage riders to give it a try.
Riders don’t hop into an empty car, an engineer mans the wheel in nuTonomy vehicles right now, ready to take over in the event of an emergency. While Singpore presents a unique area for development, Boston affords the company’s technology new challenges it hasn’t faced yet: mainly cold, ice and snow.
“Testing our self-driving cars so near to nuTonomy’s home is the next step towards our ultimate goal: deployment of a safe, efficient, fully autonomous mobility-on-demand service,” said CEO Karl Iagnemma in a statement.
(NuTonomy beats Google, Uber to autonomous punch. Click Here for the details.)
In August, the company rolled out the aforementioned self-driving taxi service as a pilot program in with plans to launch a full-fledged mobility service there in 2018. In May, nuTonomy closed a $16 million round of funding, which included investment Fontinalis.
In addition to Singapore, nuTonomy is operating self-driving cars in Michigan and the United Kingdom, where it tests software in partnership with major automotive manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover.
(Click Here for details about Uber’s testing of autonomous vehicles.)
A variety of companies are now using various cities across the U.S. to further the development of autonomous vehicles. Google is the most prominent of the group. The tech giant began on a closed loop around its campus in Mountain View, California, then expanded it to the city itself. It’s branched out to other cities in the western U.S.
In addition to Google, ride-hailing company Uber launched its autonomous vehicle pilot in Pittsburgh. Israeli tech company Mobileye NV is working with Delphi Automotive to have an autonomous system ready for production by 2019, while Ford Motor Co. said its self-driving car was slated for 2021.
(Ford planning to launch first driverless car by 2021. For more, Click Here.)
Additionally, Tesla has already proclaimed its vehicles are fully autonomous, although the automaker still warns owners to keep their hands on the wheels and federal regulators haven’t signed off on the proclamation.