We have seen many driverless rides come to life in the States. The Tech giants Google, Tesla and Uber have developed driverless rides for larger cities. An MIT startup called “nuTonomy” has jumped in too.
nuTonomy is developing a fleet of driverless taxis to serve as a more convenient form of public transit while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the densely populated city-state of Singapore.
“nuTonomy’s vision is to deliver the world’s smartest autonomous vehicle and be the software engine of automated cars,” said Karl Iagnemma, CEO and co-founder of nuTonomy. “By applying advanced techniques from the aerospace industry, we’re creating a self-driving car that is safe, confident and drives in a truly ‘human-like’ manner.”
The startup’s driverless taxis follow optimal paths for picking up and dropping off passengers to reduce traffic congestion. Without the need to pay drivers, they should be cheaper than Uber and taxis. These are also electric cars, manufactured through partnerships with automakers, which produce lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than conventional vehicles do.
“This could make car-sharing something that is almost as convenient as having your own private car, but with the accessibility and cost of public transit,” says nuTonomy co-founder and chief technology officer Emilio Frazzoli, an MIT professor of aeronautical and astronautical engineering.
Recently, nuTonomy has passed its first driving test in Singapore, meaning its driverless taxis navigated a custom obstacle course, without incident. Now, nuTonomy is in the process of getting approval for on-road testing in a business district, called One North, designated for autonomous-vehicle testing. In a few years, Frazzoli says, nuTonomy aims to deploy thousands of driverless taxis in Singapore. The company will act as the service provider to maintain the vehicles and determine when and how they can be operated safely.
Frazzoli also said that, driverless-taxi services used for public transit, such as nuTonomy’s, could promote wider use of electric cars, as consumers won’t need to purchase the expensive cars or worry about finding charging stations. This could have a major impact on the environment: A 2015 study published in Nature Climate Change found that by 2030 autonomous taxis — specifically, more efficient hybrid and electric cars — used worldwide could produce up to 94 percent less greenhouse gas emission per mile than conventional taxis.
nuTonomy develops state-of-the-art software to enable autonomous urban driving, for use in both privately-owned vehicles and mobility as a service (i.e., “autonomous taxis”). nuTonomy was founded by two leaders in the autonomous vehicle space, Drs. Karl Iagnemma and Emilio Frazzoli of MIT, and employs experts in perception, motion planning and decision-making. With PhDs from MIT, Caltech and other leading academic institutions, nuTonomy’s team has developed more than a dozen autonomous vehicle prototypes that have been tested in the U.S., Singapore, and Europe. The company has offices in Cambridge, Mass. and Singapore.
Source: MIT news.