Self-driving taxis to hit the streets of Singapore by 2018

31 May 2016

Self-driving taxis will hit the streets of Singapore within the next two years after researchers raised $16m to accelerate their technology

MIT spinoff NuTonomy has just raised $16m in Series A funding to press ahead with its ambitious goal of putting self-driving taxis on the streets of Singapore by 2018.

The funding, led by Highland Capital Partners and involving participation from prior investors Fontinallis Partners and Signal Ventures in Singapore, will be used to bring self-driving taxis to the streets of Singapore within two years, NuTonomy has said .

NuTonomy, based at MIT in Massachusetts, was founded by MIT PhDs Karl Iagnemma and Emilio Frazzoli and retrofits existing cars to make them driverless.

The company currently operates an R&D fleet of autonomous vehicles in Singapore, where it was the first private company to win governmental approval for testing on public roads.

Accelerate into the future

The technology builds on more than 10 years of research by Iagnemma and Frazzoli at MIT. Although, it is now operating in an increasingly competitive space, with players like Google, Tesla, Baidu, Uber, and possibly Apple, all working on self-driving car models.

NuTonomy says it has differentiated itself by pioneering technology for motion planning and decision-making that is based on methods that have been successfully employed in the development of spacecraft, airplanes, and other complex, safety-critical autonomous systems.

“NuTonomy’s self-driving vehicle software unlocks access to a multi-trillion dollar global ‘robo-taxi’ opportunity,” said CEO Iagnemma.

“This funding will accelerate the pace of our progress in deploying self-driving vehicles in Singapore and beyond.”

In addition to Singapore, NuTonomy is operating self-driving cars in Michigan and the UK, where it tests software in partnership with major automotive industry players such as Jaguar Land Rover.

Singapore skyline image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years