The winner of the self-driving vehicle race could easily be a traditional company
Singapore has already set precedent by becoming the world’s first place to open self-driving taxis to public trials. Now the company behind the trials, Massachusetts’ nuTonomy, will be bringing private vehicles to the city-state.
The company has partnered with the French automobile company PSA Group (the manufacturer of the Peugeot brand) to use Singapore as a testing-bed for autonomous vehicle integration into their cars.
The plan is to work on incorporating the nuTonomy software system into the PEUGEOT 3008. The first step is to install specialised sensors and computing platforms into cars that have been specifically designed by Peugeot engineers.
If all goes to plan, the on-road testing of the 3008s will begin in September. If it goes well, PSA Group plans to take the trials to other cities across the globe.
Rather than build vehicles that are “born driverless” (like the projects being pursued by Google), nuTonomy and PSA Group are trying to create technology that can be systematically integrated into more traditional cars.
This, the companies believe, will help the product build greater scale over “extended lifecycles”.
“We’re confident that working with Groupe PSA will bring us closer to our goal of deploying a safe, efficient, fully autonomous mobility-on-demand transportation service for urban driving environments,” said Karl Lagnemma, CEO and Co-founder of nuTonomy in an official statement.
Autonomous vehicles in day-to-day life may come from traditional manufacturers
Companies like Google and Baidu have large mind-share when it comes to the driverless vehicle industry, but the breakthrough that leads to mass adoption may come from companies we would consider traditional.
BMW wants to release and autonomous electric vehicle by 2021 and Ford was an early-adapter of the movement (it is also targetting 2021).
While Tesla has created a brand as a high-tech, clean alternative to the automobile industry, it is, at its core, a traditional car manufacturer.
Then there is General Motors. While the sheer size of the company forces it to move more slowly, it does have a unique ability to drop billions of dollars into projects.
There is a list of small startups like Faraday Future and nuTonomy and the big startups who are rumored to interested in driverless vehicles but have opaque or minimal details. (LeEco, Didi Chuxing and Uber being the best examples).
All of this is to point out that while the PSA Group/nuTonomy tie-up is a first in Singapore, it is not fantasy to think other companies will look to the city for testing.
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