As you already know, the Singapore government is big on autonomous vehicle trials, and nuTonomy is one company fronting that movement.
nuTonomy first surfaced a year ago when they were found to be secretly testing their vehicles in One North.
A month later they announced that they had plans to be commercially viable by 2018. Afterwards came an announcement about a partnership with Grab that would allow users to book a ride on self-driving cars.
Unfortunately, the startup suffered a major setback October last year when their car was involved in a traffic accident, sparking public debate on its safety.
Since then, nuTonomy has largely remained under the radar but now, they are back with a major announcement.
When nuTonomy Met Peugeot
In a joint press release yesterday, Singapore startup nuTonomy broke the news of their new strategic partnership with Groupe PSA, the parent company of French car-maker Peugeot.
Under this freshly inked partnership, nuTonomy will be provided with a fleet of the 2017 European Car of the Year – the Peugeot 3008.
These cars will be fitted with nuTonomy’s sophisticated software system in preparation for on-road testing in Singapore. It is important to note that the Peugeot cars have already been customised by their own in-house innovation team.
nuTonomy then comes in with their vast expertise to seamlessly integrate their software with Peugeot’s hardware.
The startup hopes to get the new cars fully road-ready in the coming months, with trials to begin in September.
Groupe PSA shared that the partnership with nuTonomy comes in line with their “Autonomous Vehicle for All” (AVA) program, which contains their ambition of introducing on-demand and fully automated mobility solutions to the market.
So don’t be surprise to see French-made cars on the roads without a driver in the near future.
Singapore A Gateway To The World
Again, Singapore is seen as the ideal testbed for autonomous vehicles thanks to the immense government support for such initiatives. The Land Transport Authority has even set aside One-North as a location allowing for the testing of autonomous vehicles.
Of course, the results the companies compile from the trials will be used to forward the vehicle R&D in other countries.
For both companies, expanding these trials to other major cities is a distinct possibility, especially since brands under Groupe PSA are internationally renowned. It also gives them a chance to explore potential new business opportunities in other markets.
Since November 2016, nuTonomy has already taken steps to trial their systems in Boston through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. It also helps that they have a team based right in the city.
Their return in Singapore is definitely something to look forward to. And although we don’t think the 2018 target for commercial services viable, at least progress towards that goal is being made.