Delphi Automotive, the UK-based vehicle parts manufacturer, has announced plans to test their self-driving technology for cars in the city-state of Singapore. They will provide a fleet of autonomous cars acting as taxis in order to test and improve their current technology in real-life scenarios.
The cars as well as the software for the taxi program will be delivered by Delphi to Singapore’s Land Transport Authority, after the company was selected as part of the city’s initiative to advance autonomous vehicle research.
The specifics of the program includes the fact that six self-driving Audi SQ5s, equipped with Delphi’s self-driving technology, will be used as taxis on three fixed routes around Singapore’s business district. In the first phase of the program, the cars will have a driver in case of emergency, but over time Delphi wants to remove the driver and eventually even the steering wheel from the car.
According to Glen DeVos, vice president of engineering for Delphi:
“It allows us to demonstrate that we have the complete ecosystem, knowledge and capability, the vehicle, the sensors, the automated software controlling connectivity to the cloud, the management of the fleet, the data and analytics on how the vehicle is performing.”
The test in Singapore is set to start next year, and the technology will surely face some challenges among the city’s crowded streets and all sorts of unexpected situations. After the driver is removed, the car is programmed to pull over to the roadside in case of a malfunction in order to avoid the problem of transferring control to a human driver.
Although Singapore might be Delphi’s hardest test yet it is certainly not its first. The company already has an autonomous fleet of cars running in Silicon Valley and also demonstrated a coast-to-coast autonomous drive in the US in 2015. While the Singapore test will last for three years, with a full commercial deployment by 2022, Delphi also plans to establish new test locations in North America and Europe.
The competition to develop and release the first fully-autonomous car is heating up. Many veterans of the automotive industry have their own projects and testing programs around the world. Even some newcomers to the industry like Apple are throwing their hat into the game.
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Image source: Delphi