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Singapore begins self-driving taxi trial program ahead of Uber

By Shawn Price
Singapore begins self-driving taxi trial program ahead of Uber
Singapore will see its first self-driving taxis Thursday, an experimental program that beats Uber's announced program due to begin in Pittsburgh in September. Photo courtesy of Nutonomy

SINGAPORE, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The self-driving taxi is debuting in Singapore Thursday, weeks ahead of Uber's announced program in the United States.

Nutonomy, a small Massachusetts-based company is beating Uber with an electric self-driving taxi that, similar to Uber, will first experiment with the idea using a safety driver in the car and limiting the range of the specially modified Mitsubishi or Renault. Users will also hail their ride on Nutonomy's app.

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The rides during the experiment will be free.

"The pilot is going to allow us to collect technical data, but equally importantly, it's going to allow us to find out if people enjoy riding in driverless cars," said Karl Iagnemma, Nutonomy's CEO. "When people get into the car, some will love it, some will be indifferent and some won't like it. But how many won't like it– 3% of the ridership, or 30%? We want to know that number. And Uber wants to know that number, too."

The technology of driverless cars could soon be sophisticated enough to be common place in cities around the world, automakers and researchers believe.

Uber will debut their experiment in Pittsburgh in September.

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