Last updated: 10:16 AM ET, Fri April 08 2016

Singapore Nears Wonderful World of Driverless Taxis

Travel Technology | Gabe Zaldivar | April 08, 2016

Singapore Nears Wonderful World of Driverless Taxis

Photo via Twitter

Prepare for a world that features taxi rides without the awkward small talk.

Apologies to lovers of idle chitchat, because Singapore will soon have a fleet of driverless cars that at the very least will signal what life might resemble without having to ask, “So, how’s your day going?”

MIT News (h/t Tech Insider) reports on an exciting innovation that is nearing its premiere.

As the report states, a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology helped establish nuTonomy, which is a company that will later this year unveil driverless taxis around Singapore.

READ MORE: Singapore, Greece Enter Driverless Bus Fray

We will temper our expectations from that of “Total Recall’s” Johnny Cab. Further deliberation has us thankful, because that kind of service might be a bit maddening and wholly explosive.

In this reality, things have been far more thoughtful and researched. The company recently celebrated passing a road test, which the report states was a trial through an obstacle course of sorts.

And now it is onto the planning phase for what will be a premiere in Singapore’s One North district.

Emilio Frazzoli is a MIT professor of aeronautical and astronautical engineering and happens to hold the distinction of being nuTonomy’s co-founder.

Frazzoli shared thoughts and details with MIT News: “This could make car-sharing something that is almost as convenient as having your own private car, but with the accessibility and cost of public transit.”

As the report notes, the innovation would have two crucial benefits, both of which may just spurn driverless technology in other areas – we presume.

The cars will be electric, which means there is far less of those nasty emissions, which is great news from an ecology standpoint.

READ MORE: Adventures in Street Eats: Laksa Layover in Singapore

Second, and what really might make this a sign of things to come, is there is no need to hire a fleet of drivers, which means a lower bottom line and cheaper fares, presumably, for travelers.

Now before you take umbrage with the thought of people losing vital jobs, Frazzoli has an answer.

It seems Singapore is that rare space that could use an influx of transportation: “In Singapore, they want to have more buses, but they cannot find people to drive buses at night. Robotics will not put these people out of jobs — it will provide more capacity and support that’s needed.”

Things will presumably unfold slowly at first. However, the team has optimistic aims as it hopes to have “thousands of driverless taxis” in the area in just a few years.

The rest of us will monitor from the sidelines and hope to see similar technology reach our respective travels.

Until then, we recommend getting all the folksy pleasantries out of the way while you can.

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