Autonomous Taxi Service To Begin Tests In Singapore

Uber may have plans to to do it, but British automotive technology parts supplier Delphi Automotive is doing it. Today, the company announced a partnership with the government of Singapore to begin developing a pilot program for an on-demand autonomous taxi service.

Singapore first to employ autonomous taxis

The firm, which is based in Kent, is already underway preparing a fleet of Audi vehicles with automated driving and mapping systems to operate around a four-mile route of the One-North Business Park in the Queenstown area of the city.

The test is part of the Singapore Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (SAVI), which was created in 2014 as a base to test automated driving providers and stakeholders. Delphi Automotive is a partner in this initiative.

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The Singapore Land Transit Authority (SLTA), of which this program is in collaboration with, hopes to successfully launch an operational automated taxi service using electric vehicles by 2020.

The future of everyday commuting

The SLTA believes that this autonomous taxi test will aid in the development of technology that assists commuters on the first and last miles of their journeys, essentially covering the distance between home or work and mass transit systems.

Delphi Automotive, beyond testing the autonomous vehicle navigation and driving systems, hopes to use the test to help the development of a cloud-based mobility-on-demand software, which can then be used by the public to summon a vehicle to their exact location using software on their mobile phones.

“When we thing about cloud-based services today, they are very well developed for mobile phones, says Glen De Vos, vice president of Delphi Automotive. “You have tremendous options for your mobile phones, whether it’s making reservations or shopping, news feeds, or sports scores. The car doesn’t really have any of that. We’re talking about bringing that into the car as you make your plans. That can be getting from point A to point B for dinner, for meeting friends, making a trip, and the intent is to integrate those.”

Despite these upcoming tests, Delphi is not the sole firm aiming to develop automated driving technologies that could potentially replace taxis and ride-hailing services. Uber, the king of ride-hailing, has spent for than $500 million into a mapping project, and has also been testing a self-driving Ford Fusion in the U.S. Lyft has also been working on a similar project with General Motors.