nuTonomy will start testing its self-driving cars in Boston before the end of 2016. nuTonomy will begin testing its self-driving car, an electric Renault Zoe, in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park, a 191-acre area in Boston’s Seaport district.
nuTonomy, a startup spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says the tests in Boston will help its self-driving car gain “a deeper understanding of pedestrian, cyclist, and driver behavior and interaction across a complex urban driving environment.” Boston’s winter weather will also be challenging.
“These tests in the city of Boston will enable our engineers to adapt our autonomous vehicle software to the weather and traffic challenges of this unique driving environment,” nuTonomy co-founder Karl Iagnemma said in a statement. “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 transportation service.”
Initially, nuTonomy won’t be picking up passengers in Boston. nuTonomy and government officials plan to expand the testing area to other parts of Boston in the near future.
“Boston is ready to lead the charge on self-driving vehicles, and I am committed to ensuring autonomous vehicles will benefit Boston’s residents,” says Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “This is an exciting step forward, and together with our public and private partners, we will continue to lead the way in creating a safe, reliable and equitable mobility plan for Boston’s residents.”
nuTonomy, which outfits its self-driving car with a mix of sensors, lasers and cameras to feed images and data to a computer to learn to navigate streets, has been testing its cars in Singapore since August 2015. nuTonomy’s self-driving taxis pick up passengers on a limited basis, shuttling passengers around the city’s 2.5-square-mile “one-north” business and residential district. nuTonomy’s self-driving fleet includes six Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi iMieV self-driving cars.
nuTonomy said it plans to launch its self-driving mobility-on-demand service in Singapore in 2018.
nuTonomy experienced its first self-driving car crash in October 2016 when one of its cars hit a truck in Singapore as it tried to change lanes. Nobody was injured in the accident. At the time of the accident, nuTonomy said its self-driving car was driving slowly. And, as required by Singpaore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA), two nuTonomy engineers were inside the car in case any human intervention was needed.