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Singapore rolls out world’s first self-driving taxis

Staff Writer |
Singapore became the first country in the world to launch a self-driving taxi service, beating ride-hailing giant Uber by mere days to public road tests.




The trial, although small, illustrates how intense the global race to develop autonomous driving vehicles has become. The field has traditionally been dominated by U.S. tech giants like Uber and Alphabet’s Google.

Singapore’s nuTonomy, founded by two researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it began testing a free taxi-hailing service in a small business district in Singapore called one-north, a campus-like space dominated by tech firms and biotechnology companies.

Other tech companies including Chinese internet giant Baidu have been testing self-driving cars on the roads for years, but this is the first time the vehicles have been open to public use.

The trial was given the blessing of the Singapore government, which has long sought to turn the city-state into a hub for disruptive technology through generous financial-assistance programs and research partnerships with firms like nuTonomy.


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