For seniors, the ability to move around and go anywhere is important to the quality of life. The self-driving or driver-less cars are going to be a very big thing to the ageing community. Driverless cars may be so friendly that seniors will ditch their own cars in favor of something that is safe, convenient and affordable. No driving, no parking and no need to try to tell the driver where you are going. Think of it as GRAB or UBER upgrade. The better news is that it is almost here.
Waymo, a spinoff from Google, is now launching a commercial driverless ride hailing service in the Phoenix area codename “Waymo One”. A fleet of Waymo Ones will hit the road and is now available to about 400 selected riders. The riders can order the car pretty much the same way you do with GRAB or UBER. The main difference is that the car autonomously will drive you to your destination. For now, Waymo One has a driver sitting in the driver’s seat but only as a backup and does not control the car. Unlike free test-pilots, this is an actual mini-commercial launch and riders will have to pay for the rides. This is a major next step in commercializing this technology.
In Singapore, there are several active projects from various companies doing pilots in self-driving cars. Did you know that Singapore built a “mini-town” just to test self-driving cars? Measuring about 2-hectares, this “mini-town” has everything a real town will have on its roads including bus stops, intersections, pedestrian crossings and even a mini-hill. The objective of this site is to allow self-driving cars to gather as much data from the pilot as possible to fine tune the technology to conditions that are uniquely matched to Singapore’s road conditions.
A live pilot is also now underway in One North campus, which includes MediaCorp Campus and Genome Building but is limited to about 10 persons who can call the nuTonomy “taxis” on their smartphones, be picked up and dropped off at 12 locations in the area.
Watch this video – get glimpse of how this technology will eventually be a game changer for how we move around in Singapore. Given the size and compactness of our city, self driving cars would be an ideal upgrade soon.