A New Kind of Taxi

NuTonomy, a taxi startup that just recently began testing in Singapore, has just announced (on May 25th) that they raised $16 million in Series A funding, which was lef by Highland Capital Partners.

The Series A was participated in by prior investors Fontinalis Partners and Signal Ventures; Samsung Ventures and EDBI (an investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board) also contributed to the round.

The company, in a race with heavyweights such as Uber Technologies Inc., General Motors Co. and Alphabet Inc., vows to bring self-driving taxis to the road by 2018.

A spin out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013, the company counts the government of Singapore as one of its main partners. Notably, as was previously mentioned, the startup already runs a fleet of vehicles in Singapore, and it is the first private company approved to test such technologies on public roads.

nuTonomy is also testing in Michigan and the United Kingdom, where they have partnered up with Jaguar Land Rover.

A Host of Features

The startup is promising to develop the whole suite for driverless taxis, from autonomous navigation software (nuCore), fleet routing and management, remote vehicle teleoperation, and even smartphone-based ride requesting are in the works.

The firms uses retrofitted Mitsubishi iMiev electric cars and is expected to add Renault Zoe EVs in its autonomous cab service later this year.

So where does nuTonomy fall in the field? Well, this startup is entering a field with well-established players that have a long track record of monumental successes. Case in point, Toyota Motor Corp, the Japanese automobile maker, announced an investment in Uber, which is also developing self-driving cars. Apple has announced a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing. Even General Motors is in the game, announcing a $500 million investment in Lyft to develop an on-demand network of self-driving cars.

So, the future is looking, well, rather automated.

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