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The first driverless taxi hit the roads of Singapore on Thursday, in a limited public trial taking place in a hi-tech business district in a western part of the country (via Reuters).

Developer nuTonomy invited a select group of people to download their ride hailing app and ride for free in its "robo-taxi", saying it hoped to get feedback ahead of a planned launch of the service in 2018.

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"This is really a moment in history that's going to change how cities are built, how we really look at our surroundings," nuTonomy executive Doug Parker told Reuters.

The ongoing trial rides are taking place in Mitsubishi i-MiEv electric vehicles, with an engineer sitting behind the wheel to monitor how the system deals with the road and take control if necessary.

The company has partnered with the Singapore government on the project, and hopes to have 100 taxis working commercially in the Southeast Asian city state by 2018.

NuTonomy is one of several companies racing to launch self-driving vehicles, with new projects or alliances between automakers and technology firms being announced on an almost weekly basis.

Last week, Uber announced it would begin allowing customers in Pittsburgh to summon self-driving cars from within its ride-hailing app, while Ford announced plans to build a fleet of fully automated driverless cars for commercial ride-sharing by 2021. In June it was reported that Uber had held talks with Fiat Chrysler about a potential partnership involving self-driving car technology.

Apple has been the source of many self-driving automobile rumors since last year, but it's now thought the company's first entrance into the vehicle industry likely won't be autonomous, although later generations of its "Apple Car" would probably include the technology.

However, over the summer reports suggested that Apple is taking a "two-prong approach" to its car development, internally known as "Project Titan", and will focus more on creating its own autonomous driving system rather than manufacturing the vehicle.

Article Link: First Driverless Taxi Service Begins Limited Trials in Singapore
 

2457282

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Dec 6, 2012
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I think that having a driver behind the wheel makes this a reasonable first step. I am not ready to have a car pull up and have no driver. We need to see this be successful for a while before I feel comfortable. Just look at what has happened to Telsa and the accidents it has had as idiots record themselves on auto pilot. There is still more work to be done, but hopefully by 2018, we will be there.
 

dsburdette

macrumors member
Apr 9, 2010
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Alpharetta, GA
C'mon. Our computers and phones crash all the time and they've been programming these for decades. They're constantly hacked and you're telling me that driverless cars are going to work reliably? Color me skeptical. The number of unknown variables driving on the road will make me NEVER trust driverless cars.
 

vertical smile

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Sep 23, 2014
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The first driverless taxi hit the roads of Singapore on Thursday, in a limited public trial taking place in a hi-tech business district in a western part of the country (via Reuters).

IN-SANE!!! Can you believe this is happening? The future is here!

I think this amazing tech is the future and I might as well embrace it when it happens.

But, I can't help but be a little sad knowing one day there might be a world without cars that could be driven.

I have enjoyed cars so much, driving, fixing, upgrading. If my children ever have children, and they are in the mid teens, they may never know what it is like to pilot a sports car, exiting a curve at full boost.

All of these self-driving car articles is bittersweet news for sure.
 
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69Mustang

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Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
I think this amazing tech is the future and I might as well embrace it when it happens.

But, I can't help but be a little sad knowing one day there might be a world without cars that could be driven.

I have enjoyed cars so much, driving, fixing, upgrading. If my children ever have children, and they are in the mid teens, they may never know what it is like to pilot a sports car, exiting a curve at full boost.

All of these self-driving car articles is bittersweet news for sure.
This. 100% this. I've built two cars from the ground up and love working on cars. I track my Mustang. I'm 2300 miles from 200,000 on my A5. I love tech. I am passionate about cars. It will be a sad day indeed.

Also, as others have said, driverless cars dependency on technology scares the bejeebus out of me. From software glitches to malicious hacks...
 

theluggage

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Jul 29, 2011
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IN-SANE!!! Can you believe this is happening?

Ever heard the saying "The first 90% of a job takes 90% of the time. Unfortunately, the final 10% takes 90% of the time as well..."?

As with Uber, getting that engineer/emergency backup human out of the driver's seat is going to take an awful lot of work, as well as waiting for governments and insurance companies to sort out some reasonable scheme for liability.

...and, as Telsa are finding, its not ready 'till its ready - you can't trust the typical human driver to pay attention once their hands are off the wheel (and, frankly, as long as I'm still responsible for safety, I'd rather just drive than nursemaid an auto-drive system).
 

baryon

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Oct 3, 2009
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But, I can't help but be a little sad knowing one day there might be a world without cars that could be driven.

I have enjoyed cars so much, driving, fixing, upgrading. If my children ever have children, and they are in the mid teens, they may never know what it is like to pilot a sports car, exiting a curve at full boost.

All of these self-driving car articles is bittersweet news for sure.

I feel the same. I'm glad I've lived in a world where I could drive my own car, amongst many other freedoms that are being taken away. There are still many places in my city where I can park for free, where you don't have to pay congestion charge and where you can be free to enjoy the basic things of life without having to fear a fine that could ruin your life is only you miss a "no parking" sign.

Slowly the world is becoming a heavily controlled place with little freedom. Within a year or two we will have to pay whenever we park anywhere, whenever we drive anywhere (beyond paying for the car and petrol). And within a decade or two we will no longer be controlling our own cars. It will be more like taking public transport or an elevator than having the freedom of driving yourself. People will realize that owning a car is pointless, so it will literally just be taxis like this, no different than public transport, driving us around. But it will be more efficient, faster, and safer, so there will be no logical reason to resist the change. But somewhere it will feel sad, for an unexplained reason.

Of course I understand the safety concerns, and the overpopulation issues that mean we can't keep these things go uncontrolled. There is nothing to do about this, just like taxes and laws, they're the "right thing to do". But I'm glad I'm at least one of the last people to have enjoyed a life in the more naive, free world even though it may have been ever so slightly more dangerous and unpredictable. I'd personally gladly trade a bit of security for a bit more freedom, but most people would take security over freedom any day, since that's what society is about.
 
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Pakaku

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Aug 29, 2009
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C'mon. Our computers and phones crash all the time and they've been programming these for decades. They're constantly hacked and you're telling me that driverless cars are going to work reliably? Color me skeptical. The number of unknown variables driving on the road will make me NEVER trust driverless cars.
One advantage they have is better reaction times than humans. They become smarter as more driverless cars are added to the roads because they could be programmed to talk to each other, automating each other. And you can't seriously tell me you don't believe failsafes won't be installed.
 
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dsburdette

macrumors member
Apr 9, 2010
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Alpharetta, GA
One advantage they have is better reaction times than humans. They become smarter as more driverless cars are added to the roads because they could be programmed to talk to each other, automating each other. And you can't seriously tell me you don't believe failsafes won't be installed.

You mean all the failsafes that work splendidly with web sites that constantly get hacked? It's a cat and mouse game and humans are fallible. I concede that highway driving might be a more realistic scenario for driverless technology but I just can't get behind the whole idea. I'm also not saying driverless cars don't have better reaction times – they do – but I also think there are way too many variables that cannot be programmed for that a human can actually discern much better. Just my opinion though.
 

Keane16

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Dec 8, 2007
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I have enjoyed cars so much, driving, fixing, upgrading. If my children ever have children, and they are in the mid teens, they may never know what it is like to pilot a sports car, exiting a curve at full boost.

This. 100% this. I've built two cars from the ground up and love working on cars. I track my Mustang. I'm 2300 miles from 200,000 on my A5. I love tech. I am passionate about cars. It will be a sad day indeed.

I'm definitely going to be doing more track days in the future. Love driving.

I guess it's inevitable. 100+ years ago pre-car popularity horses were ridden more commonly. What percentage of people today have ridden a horse - the thrill of being in complete control of an animal - a mustang even. I bet people back then thought the same thing we are about cars, only for horses - "my children will never know how to breed, raise, train or ride a horse".
 

SandboxGeneral

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Sep 8, 2010
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NuTonomy is one of several companies racing to launch self-driving vehicles, with new projects or alliances between automakers and technology firms being announced on an almost weekly basis.
Wow! There are more and more companies really racing to achieve this automated driving goal that I suspected there were. Certainly interesting times are upon us in the field of automotive technology.
 
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jimsong

macrumors member
Feb 19, 2010
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You mean all the failsafes that work splendidly with web sites that constantly get hacked? It's a cat and mouse game and humans are fallible. I concede that highway driving might be a more realistic scenario for driverless technology but I just can't get behind the whole idea. I'm also not saying driverless cars don't have better reaction times – they do – but I also think there are way too many variables that cannot be programmed for that a human can actually discern much better. Just my opinion though.

Forget about opinion though. Once there is enough data, accident and fatality rates could be compared between traditional and driverless cars. Time will tell whether you are right or wrong.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
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...and, as Telsa are finding, its not ready 'till its ready - you can't trust the typical human driver to pay attention once their hands are off the wheel (and, frankly, as long as I'm still responsible for safety, I'd rather just drive than nursemaid an auto-drive system).

You actually can trust the typical human. There have been hundreds of thousands of autonomous Teslas on the road for the last 2 years. Only one fatality and a few accidents have occurred, because most people aren't morons and realize that trusting autopilot to be perfect is like expecting someone part way through driver's ed to be perfect.

It's expected that Tesla will release a massive update to the system within a month that'll resolve most of the blindspots in the version that's currently released (although they still don't expect to have a perfect system for another year or two.)
 

69Mustang

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Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
You actually can trust the typical human. There have been hundreds of thousands of autonomous Teslas on the road for the last 2 years. Only one fatality and a few accidents have occurred, because most people aren't morons and realize that trusting autopilot to be perfect is like expecting someone part way through driver's ed to be perfect.
This is true. But as with most things today, it's the morons who garner the most attention.

It's expected that Tesla will release a massive update to the system within a month that'll resolve most of the blindspots in the version that's currently released (although they still don't expect to have a perfect system for another year or two.)
Right now Tesla's autonomous system is sitting between, depending on who you ask, level 2 and 3 on the NHTSA/SAE scales (personally, I like the SAE classifications better). Software updates will help but Tesla's going to need hardware upgrades to address the primary issue that contributed to that fatality. Although Musk is against the technology, I'd love to see Tesla use a combination of LIDAR and their current RADAR tech. I do understand that LIDAR is cost prohibitive for Tesla right now, but future upgrades should be possible when/if Tesla ever becomes profitable.
 

mateytate

macrumors regular
Apr 10, 2014
168
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C'mon. Our computers and phones crash all the time and they've been programming these for decades. They're constantly hacked and you're telling me that driverless cars are going to work reliably? Color me skeptical. The number of unknown variables driving on the road will make me NEVER trust driverless cars.

I'm going to bet someone said that in the early 1900's about the new flying craft that flew through the skies.......
 
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theluggage

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Jul 29, 2011
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You actually can trust the typical human. There have been hundreds of thousands of autonomous Teslas on the road for the last 2 years.

(a) what proportion of those (or of the miles they've driven) are actually running in autonomous mode?
(b) what proportion of those autonomous miles are "freeway driving" which is probably the safest and most straightforward form of driving (small risk of serious accident - the roads are designed to let people drive safely at high speeds) c.f. driving around town (overloaded roads, junctions that just kinda congealed over time, distracting junk on either side, constant dodgem with pedestrians, crossing paths of other vehicles, lots of other idiots who will cut you up if you're too cautions).
 
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now i see it

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Jan 2, 2002
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There will be deaths and accidents aplenty if this technology takes off. Components wear out, parts malfunction. Whose ever heard of a complex computer system built around scores of sensors that works 100% perfectly 100% of the time? Year after year after year after year? We have sensors fail in our current cars all the time. None of them though will send us careening through a red light to our deaths.
 
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jimbobb24

macrumors 68000
Jun 6, 2005
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This is the future. It's happening.

There will be deaths but the robocars don't need to be perfect. They just need to be better than humans and humans suck at driving.

I hope this goes widespread while I am still young enough to enjoy it. Studying on my commute. Or sleeping. Having kids picked up from school by robocars.

Downtowns reclaimed from
Parking lots, but people suburbs booming because commute time does not matter. Options to choose schools outside districts because commute to school not matter. Housing prices detached from school districts. The potential changes from robocars are absolutely amazing. It is probably the next most disruptive technology since cell phones.
 
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Taipan

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Jun 23, 2003
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I still cannot believe how anyone who has ever worked with computers and been in traffic can honestly believe that autonomous cars could work.

I might be persuaded to see a tiny chance if all manually steered cars were replaced at once, but otherwise...
 
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