Driverless taxis coming to Singapore

Delphi Automotive Plc, the vehicle-electronics supplier that last year conducted the first coast-to-coast U.S. demonstration of a self-driving car, will begin testing autonomous autos in Singapore this year that may lead to robot taxis by the end of the decade.

The test will involve six autonomous autos, starting with the modified Audi Q5 the supplier used last year to travel from San Francisco to New York in self-driving mode. In Singapore, the cars initially will follow three predetermined routes and by 2019 will range freely based on customer requests, without a driver or a human minder, according to Glen DeVos, a Delphi senior vice president.

“We actually will have point-to-point automated mobility on demand with no driver in the car,” he said at a briefing with reporters at Delphi’s Troy, Michigan, operations base. “It’s one of the first, if not the very first, pilot programs where we’ll demonstrate mobility-on-demand systems.”

Here is more from Keith Naughton.


Singapore is a good place to start since the traffic is easier to deal with than say Bangkok

Also, they don't have taxi medallions in Singapore, do they?

No, instead Singapore has something similar to the medallion system for even buying a car *at all*. See

When I was a child, I believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Lots of adults I know believe in Angels. Here's an article about "instant payments" provided by PayPal's Venmo and Square Cash and which the big banks are now trying to duplicate in order to capture business of millennials who have come to rely on smart phone apps for most everything and expect most everything in an "instant". My adult friends and family members humor children by pretending there is a Santa Claus and an Easter Bunny. If adults can pretend there is a Santa Claus and an Easter Bunny and lots of adults actually believe in Angels, then why shouldn't adults believe in "instant payments" and self-driving cars and spaceships to Mars. What's the harm in believing nonsense? I suppose the harm is that people become conditioned to believe nonsense, so conditioned they will even believe it when the nonsense comes from a politician.

Regarding instant payments, the US does have a slower payment system than most of the world. There's no law of nature that prevents self-driving cars from becoming a reality, either. It looks like space travel will stay colossally expensive, though, regrettably.

Venmo is touted as "instant" payment but it's not instant. The transfer initiation is instant but the funds still take one business day to reach your bank. A payment initiated at 8 pm on Friday will be in your bank account on Tuesday. if the sender cancels the transaction in the meantime, you never get the funds and you may not even be notified it was canceled; you just don't see the funds show up.

The debate is a "years or decades?" kind of debate. As long as we don't accord the robots any level of autonomy over our transportation decisions, I think we'll be fine. Which is different from giving them operational control to accomplish a specific task, e.g., take A to B.

The question of protection from diverse forms of hacking, most especially including those potentially perpetrated from within the state itself (in addition to their allocation of resources towards hacking prevention and less into hacking itself), should be of regulatory interest.

"If adults can pretend there is a Santa Claus and an Easter Bunny and lots of adults actually believe in Angels, then why shouldn’t adults believe in “instant payments” and self-driving cars and spaceships to Mars."

This reminds me of another more famous quip:

"In colloquy, a genius asked "isn't there a clerk who can examine patents?" A boy replied "Quite unnecessary, Sir. Everything that can be invented has been invented."

Punch magazine, 1899

Peak consumer auto?

Self driving means vehicle cost is less important as it can be distributed over many riders.

Also, separating riding from owning should spur a burst of new models; the standard car is necessarily a compromise between the many requirements of the average buyer. Self driving cars will be designed for the task.

"Peak consumer auto?"

No, there are still too many in the third world that don't have a car yet. We might be nearing peak car per capita, though.

On a coast-to-coast drive, does a self-driving car have to find full-service gas pumps?

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