As car companies large and small make steady but incremental progress towards the commercialization of autonomy in consumer vehicles, the big question is when we’re going to finally see (and be able to benefit from) full, level 4 autonomy. The kind of autonomy where you don’t have to pay attention at all, and your car simply takes you where you want to go. This is what’s going to completely change transportation, turning time spent getting from where you are to where you want to be from a frustrating experience into a productive (or relaxing) one.
So far, we can buy cars that come equipped with autonomous braking, autonomous parking, and autonomous highway driving, but fully urban autonomy has only been demonstrated by a few, and not in a form that’s ready for consumers to take advantage of. An MIT spinout called nuTonomy(which closed a $3.6M seed funding round in January) is ready to change everything by deploying a fully autonomous urban taxi service in downtown Singapore. Using your phone, you’ll call a self-driving car to you, tell it your destination, and then sit back and let the car drive you there. This would be a massive advance for both autonomous cars and urban mobility, and we talked with nuTonomy co-founder and CEO Karl Iagnemma about how they’re going to make it happen.