Johnny Cabs are Here

Remember the “Johnny Cabs” from the 1990 film Total Recall? They were autonomous cars, outfitted with a weird, animatronic cabbie torso that took directions and muttered annoying pleasantries.

Arnold Schwarzenegger slides into one, and with his characteristic tact, becomes impatient and rips the creepy animatronic torso bodily from the vehicle.

Now, in Singapore, you can do the same—ride in a driverless cab, that is...destroying a creepy robotic cabbie is likely still some years away.

SMRT Services, the second-largest public transportation company in Singapore, is partnering with the Dutch company 2 Getthere Holding to supply driverless public transportation to Singapore and the Asia-Pacific market by the end of 2016.

Colin Lim, Managing Director of SMRT Services, says “there is a growing national push to implement future mobility solutions that can meet our first and last-mile connectivity needs in Singapore…The Automated Vehicles will complement our existing multi-modal transport operations to bring about seamless connectivity for commuters.”

The Specs

The Ground Rapid Transit (GRT) vehicles are pretty sexy, too. The concept images show a multidirectional vehicle somewhat similar to a minibus, with wide, automated doors on either side to allow for rapid ingress and egress.

They can accommodate up to 24 passengers, with reconfigurable interior seating and standing space. Air conditioning is designed to be installed in the roof to allow for standing room. It’s expected that the GRT vehicles can shuttle up to 8,000 passengers an hour in a single direction, making for a low-cost public transit system, and it’s expected that their maximum speed will be 40 kph (25 mph).

As far as its more sophisticated features are concerned, each GRT vehicle will be completely electric, outfitted with a Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LiFePO4) rechargeable battery. They are fully automated and driverless, using 2 Getthere’s magnetic navigation system, and are equipped with obstacle detection and avoidance systems.

So Johnny Cabs are here. Just without the annoying robotic cabbie.

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