Tech Startup Gets Permission To Expand Its Self-Driving Tests In Boston

Before self-driving vehicles can rule the roads, they must be able to handle anything thrown their way, including cars operated by human beings. So, what better way to improve the technology than by pitting it against some of the most unpredictable drivers in the United States?

That’s precisely what Cambridge, Mass.-based startup nuTonomy is about to do.

Since January, the company has been testing its self-driving technology in modified Renault Zoes and Mitsubishi i-MiEVs in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park in the Seaport section of Boston. Now, it’s received permission to test in the city’s Seaport and Fort Point neighborhoods, according to The Verge.

The Marin Park is a small industrial area that isn’t fully representative of the environments self-driving vehicles could face. But in expanding to more densely populated areas, the vehicles will encounter more bridges, traffic signals, drivers and pedestrians.

“This development will allow the sophisticated autonomous vehicle software system we’ve pioneered to quickly adapt to Boston’s complex driving environment,” NuTonomy CEO Karl Iagnemma said in a statement, via The Verge.

Complex is one way to put it. In addition to constant construction and frequently inclement weather, Boston’s roads are home to drivers that AllState ranked found to be the worst in the U.S., based on its data from 2012 and 2013, according to The Boston Globe.

Boston isn’t the only place where nuTonomy has been testing its autonomous tech. Since August, the company has operated a fleet of self-driving taxis in Singapore.

Thumbnail photo via nuTonomy

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