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Getting the public on board remains a big hurdle


08-27-2016 01:04 BJT

Singapore is bringing self-drive taxis to the city. A number of companies are launching tests on Singapore's roads.  But as Melanie Ralph now reports, getting the public on board with the idea could prove to be the biggest hurdle that self-drive developers may face.
This business park in Singapore is the testing ground for driverless cars. Several car companies are using this 6 kilometer stretch to bring Singapore up to speed in self driving cars. The tougher the conditions the better. Delphi is one of the companies doing closed tests to get self driving cars ready to launch into the public arena. They're being tested for their performance in challenging conditions -- like rain, or night time driving. But more importantly how the cars react to decision making, such as avoiding unpredictable obstacles in its way.

"A human is distracted, they don't notice that it's a child or they don't notice that the child is not looking at the car and they'll step in front of the car, and in the future such computer systems will never make that mistake," said Serge Lambermont, technical director of automated driving, Delphi.

These self driving cars never get distracted.

Another start up, nuTonomy, are already testing their taxi service on a small, select group of the public.

They're planning to launch a full passenger service in Singapore from 2018

Eliminating the need for a driver in a taxi would of course cut fares for passengers. There are however huge concerns over just how safe self-driving cars are. Although the makers of these vehicles are promising they'll have safety mechanisms. It may take more than a cheap ride to convince the masses to trust a car with no driver.

For Delphi their launch to the public won't be until 2021, and by then they intend to be completely unaided by a human

The idea is to make the operating systems so water tight, the computer in a car like this will make better and faster decisions than us.

Getting the public to see is that way however is another huge challenge that a company like Delphi has to overcome.

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