Asian ride-hailing firm Grab is partnering with startup nuTonomy

Uber’s major rival in Asia, Grab has combined with startup nuTonomy which recently have launched a driverless taxi trial in Singapore.

From now onward Grab users will be able to use the app to book nuTonomy cars for driverless rides in a small district of the city only. However at present these cars still have a standby drivers for emergency situations.

The proclamation comes as car and tech giants around the globe step up their experiments with self-driving cars.

Meanwhile Uber, which is working with car maker Volvo in the US, started a trial with self-driving cars in Pittsburgh in August, although also still with a backup driver who can take control should technology fail.

Another company Lyft has combined with US giant General Motors, whose chief executive earlier this month anticipated driverless cabs to hit roads in as little as 5 years.

nuTonomy  CEO, Karl Iagnemma, said in a statement that the partnership with Grab will “allow us to expand our public pilot by integrating it with the Grab app”.

He added: “People can use the Grab app to call one of our cars, and it’s going to be very similar to hailing a Grab car today except that that car will be driven by our software – not by a human driver.”

NuTonomy started a limited public trial of a driverless taxi in August in Singapore, and says it hopes to have as many as 100 autonomous taxis operating in the city-state by 2018.

More than ride-hailing or taxi companies, carmakers are also working on autonomous driving technology. Giants like Tesla, Ford, and Volvo all are doing their experiment for the autonomous cars.

Search giant Google has been working on its driverless Google car for long time now, also pushing US legislators to update the legal framework for a future of self-driving vehicles.

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