One of the arguments used by critics of self-driving car technologies is that most people won’t be comfortable being driven by a computer. The ongoing self-driving taxi pilot in Singapore seems to contradict this, though — riders have been adjusting psychologically to the technology, and they’ve actually been doing so very rapidly, according to nuTonomy CEO Dr Karl Iagnemma.
The comments were made by the company exec at UPSHIFT 2016, where the CEO also revealed that “riders are attributing human-like characteristics to the vehicles. It seems that riders prefer when the machines don’t behave like machines but more like people.”
That seems typical of most people — a preference is often there for automated systems to seem like something of a surrogate human, rather than to seem like what they actually are — computers and software, and nothing more.
Autoblog provides more: “Despite most first-time riders initially being nervous about stepping into a self-driving vehicle, the anxiety quickly fades. In fact, after a minute or two in the car, riders will relax into near boredom. … Customers who ride along in either a fully autonomous Renault Zoe or a Mitsubishi i-MiEV have been providing valuable feedback to engineers pre- and post-ride. The research and data obtained from their self-driving taxi service and the riders who use it is already being integrated into their future, Level 4 autonomous products.”
nuTonomy is currently in talks with a number of potential partners around the world about implementing local self-driving taxi project’s similar to Singapore’s. For some background on that, see: “World’s 1st Public Self-Driving Taxi Pilot Program Now Underway In Singapore.”