Want to ride in a Renault Zoe in America? Go to Boston, where local start-up nuTonomy is testing a fleet of them as part of its autonomous driving development program. After an Uber autonomous test car killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, earlier this year, the city of Boston asked nuTonomy to suspend testing its self-driving cars while it reassessed the situation.
Now the Boston Transportation Department has determined that nuTonomy is more responsible than Uber and is conducting its program in a safe manner. In fact, it has now expanded its approval to include the entire city, according to Engadget.
The company began testing the self-driving Renault Zoes last year in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park. Later, it expanded its trials to the Seaport District, where it has been providing transportation for passengers in association with Lyft.
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“Continuing to test autonomous vehicles in a careful and methodical manner represents another step forward in helping us to achieve the vision for improved mobility that was established by residents during the Go Boston 2030 Transportation Plan public process,” says Boston mayor Marty Walsh. “If deployed thoughtfully, shared fleets of autonomous vehicles could offer the city of Boston the potential to improve safety on our streets, provide equitable connections to the MBTA and offer a new source of mobility to all Boston residents.”
nuTonomy, which is owned by Aptiv, will be required to submit quarterly reports on its testing program to the city and will need to notify the Boston Transportation Department when it moves into a new neighborhood. While it is the first to be granted city-wide access, nuTonomy isn’t the only company testing its autonomous vehicles in the city. Optimus Ride has begun testing its autonomous car technology in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Industrial Park.
“We are proud to be the first company authorized to operate autonomous vehicles on public roads city-wide in Boston,” says Karl Iagnemma, president of Aptiv Automated Mobility on Demand. “Being recognized by the city for our exceptional safety record is an important milestone for the entire nuTonomy and Aptiv team. Today, we are excited to have access to some of the most complex roads in North America as we continue to focus on improving the safety and efficiency of transportation in cities worldwide.”
nuTonomy doesn’t get the press coverage that Lyft, Uber, and Google do, but that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that it has created self-driving technology that is good enough to convince officials in Boston it can safely operate its autonomous cars in the entire city.