World's first autonomous taxi crashes in Singapore

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : October 20, 2016, 10:59 | Updated : October 20, 2016, 11:01

MIT spin-off company nuTonomy's autonomous taxi [Courtesy of nuTonomy]

The world's first autonomous taxi called "nuTonomy" got involved in a traffic accident this week, crashing into a lorry while changing lanes in Singapore, two months after it was test-launched.

Singapore Land Transport Authority said in a statement that a nuTonomy taxi was involved in a minor incident at the street of Biopolis Drive in One-North on Wednesday. No one was injured from the accident.

The spin-off technology company of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been testing its autonomous taxis in an area around the Singapore Business Park. The taxi has provided free rides for Singaporeans to collect technical data and customer patterns.

Autonomous cars or self-driving vehicles have become a hot global topic, and the MIT startup is the first to provide a public service, beating Uber which has rolled out test drives of its own autonomous taxi in the United States. The taxi hailing company hired over 500 employees in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to support its autonomous taxi.

While robot taxis are still in the experimental phase, both nuTonomy and Uber taxis are experiencing similar problems as they were witnessed by pedestrians and other drivers disobeying traffic laws such as ignoring traffic lights and driving in the opposite direction on a one-way street.

Google, one of many companies developing autonomous cars, has carried out on-road experiments and became the center of controversy in March after its self-driving SUV crashed into a bus in California.

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