Self-Driving Taxis: Coming to Residential Areas

Almost every expert agrees that automated vehicles would roll out as groups of autonomous taxis in organized environments – downtowns of congested cities, reserved freeway lanes, business parks or college campuses.

And we are already beginning to see the 1st indications of those kinds of services. Today, Voyage just started in a retirement neighborhood in California.

Automated Taxis

2 automated Ford Fusions (the 3rd one is on its way) would provide rides to the four thousand people of the Villages, a close community of retired people in San Jose. There are 16 miles of streets in the neighborhood for the automated cars of Voyage to learn how to cooperate with golf carts, roundabouts, animals, and pedestrians. To help reduce the risk if something goes wrong, the limit of the speed is only 24 mph.

According to the CEO of Voyage, Oliver Cameron, they have considered for the best combination of – passenger scale and need, chaotic and complex street, and a bit drop in speed (which happens as a consequence of golf carts partaking the street with a lot of cars). It turns out that only a small number of places fit the description. Luckily, they got to know The Villages leadership and they were fortunate to get consent to deploy.

According to the Times, acquiring the consent was a bit of a hassle. California requires self-driving cars to have $4.5 million of insurance coverage. However, the Villages asserted on 50% more since it is a private neighborhood with increased liability. In the end, the insurance broker that settled to the contract did so on the contingency that Voyage share the information gathered by its vehicles.

Voyage Isn’t Alone

The automated taxi service of Voyage is not alone. Waymo is running a restricted service using its self-driving minivans in Arizona. It is reported to be close to launching a commercial and broader ride-hailing operation before the end of 2017. Also, Uber is providing trips in automated SUVs in Pittsburgh, as well as Arizona. And a lot of self-driving shuttle services has been popping up on business parks and college campuses around the country.

To power its self-driving cars, Voyage uses an equally typical sensor suite – 5 Delphi radars, A Velodyne HDL-64E LIDAR, 7 IDS cameras, and a gaming computer in its trunk with 2 GPUs. According to Cameron, he hopes to expand to a larger community if the self-driving service in the Villages goes well.

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