Are we now witnessing the rise of the first self-driving taxi in the form of Navya? This is likely the case as the company recently announced what it calls the Autonom Cab vehicle, which is a minivan designed to ferry up to six people without the need for a driver.
Yes, Uber and Lyft have been working on their self-driving platform for quite some time, but none is ready to have a vehicle on public streets without a driver behind the wheel. Navya has been testing their technology with autonomous shuttles around the University of Michigan for quite some time, and now it’s looking to branch out.
The first step is to have the Autonom Cab on the streets of Las Vegas by the 10th of November, so it shouldn’t take a decade before these vehicles are roaming around every city in the United States.
How fast can Navya self-driving cars drive?
Now then, while the shuttles travel at a maximum speed of 15-MPH, the new vehicles will max out at 30-MPH. To prove how serious Navya is about having a fleet of autonomous taxis on American streets, the Autonom Cab, like the shuttles, do not come with a steering wheel or pedals.
It simply means that these cars have no choice but the ferry passengers without a driver, and that’s a big step. We haven’t seen many companies successfully rolling out level 4 ADS-DV autonomous vehicles, so it gives us the impression that Navya’s tech is miles ahead of some of its competitors.
Navya is not introducing a service
Interestingly enough, the company is not preparing itself to have its own taxi service despite having the core technology to do so. In fact, it has decided to sell the Autonom Cab to companies with the interest of starting their own self-driving taxi business.
“Imagine what cities would be like if there were nothing but AUTONOMS running on the road. No more traffic jams or parking problems, fewer accidents and less pollution,” says NAVYA CEO Christophe Sapet. “At NAVYA, we recognize that the status of individual cars is rapidly changing, especially among younger generations, many of whom don’t have their driver’s license and are less attached to the concept of owning a car.”
The primary plan then is to have Autonom Cab on streets by the second half of 2018, and we’re not sure any other company has any plans to launch at such an early date. Still, one needs to bear in mind that technology development is no easy task; therefore, things could change before 2018.
As for the tech inside, well, the vehicle comes with 10 Lidar sensors, six cameras, four radars, two GNSS antennae and one inertial measurement unit (IMU).