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Artificial Intelligence as Part of Mass Transportation


Recently, professionals from a company known as nuTonomy comprised of people from the prestigious MIT or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology rolled out a new technology that most of us have only either dreamed of or watched in cartoons and film. The shows and movies depicting the technology of the future have finally come to pass. Driverless vehicles are here.

This month, the same people behind nuTonomy and in partnership with the ride-hailing app Grab have announced that they will be expanding the operations for their driverless taxi services and will be operating in an even bigger area in Singapore.

On a previous interview of an Indian publication called The Hindu with Karl Iagnemma, CEO of nuTonomy, Mr. Iagnemma mentioned that the reasons why his company chose Singapore as the starting ground for this new technology are: the Singaporean regulatory environment is very capable; the country’s infrastructure is good, the citizens have good driving practices and adherence to driving rules. Moreover, the weather is favourable for the testing and development of the technology.

He also mentioned that the Singaporean government recognizes that these self-driving vehicles could have a considerable positive impact on the economy, transportation efficiency, and on the public health and transport in Singapore.

Filling in the Labour Gaps

Singapore is now a pioneer in driverless transportation service in Singapore. Looking at this change, there will always be the question of whether or not this technology will bring forth a disruption in the labour market in the country.

Apparently, from the studies that were made by Mr. Iagnemma’s team, Singapore’s taxi and bus fleets are part of the ageing population. He also mentioned the fact that off-peak and less desirable working hours bring forth a shortage of workers and stated that this technology has the potential to do the hours that most people would rather not do.

The truth of the matter is that any new technology that seeks to replace humans in the workforce will have a significant impact on the labour market and that is something that needs to be further looked into.

Unexpected Events on the Road, Safety, and Human Interaction

To describe this new technology as something that is handy is an understatement. However, algorithms and variables would not be able to cover every unforeseen event on the road. This is mainly due to the fact that the artificial intelligence program driving for you could not fully anticipate what other human drivers are thinking.

Nothing can substitute a human being’s ability to make split decisions when faced with an unpredictable situation. A well trained professional driver the likes of the ones that we, at SGMaxi can ensure your safety any given day. Granted that our drivers are able to react to many different situations, something the artificial intelligence may not be able to adapt as quickly.

Also, it is better to note that currently, Singapore has no firm regulations with regards to any liability aspects in case a driverless taxi is involved in an accident. In this case, a duly licensed company that passed the standards of safety and has been vetted by the government can guarantee you are insured during your travel.

Finally, our fleet of Maxicabs in Singapore and mini buses, and, of course, our premium limousine services in Singapore come with something that a computer program can never replace, human interaction. Imagine the difference of being picked up for your airport transfer after a gruelling flight by a full-service company like SG Maxi as opposed to being greeted by a driverless taxi.

A kind smile, a warm word of welcome or two, someone to help you carry your luggage and help you or your elderly mother to get on board the vehicle are some of the things that will always be irreplaceable. As the saying goes, it is the people that make any place a home.