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Add Boston to List of Cities Allowing “Road Testing” of Self-Driving Vehicles


Do you know what Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, Buenos Aires and Paris all have in common? They’re all cities that are eager to see self-driving vehicles—so eager, in fact, that they’re willing to allow firms like Google test-drive their autonomous vehicles on their streets and highways.

And now you can add Boston to the list. Fortune magazine reports that self-driving cars will very soon hit the their streets. nuTonomy, a self-driving car startup in Cambridge, MA will begin to test its vehicles in the city by the end of the year. The startup, which spun out of MIT, started testing its cars in Singapore in August, and is now expanding those tests to the U.S.

Intially, nuTonomy’s tests in Boston will involve just one car—a Renault Zoe electric car equipped with nuTonomy’s self-driving software. The trial will take place in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park in the South Boston neighborhood, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“These tests in the city of Boston will enable our engineers to adapt our autonomous vehicle software to the weather and traffic challenges of this unique driving environment,” nuTonomy co-founder Karl Iagnemma said.

The company plans to roll out a wider commercial fleet of self-driving cars in Singapore in 2018, well ahead of the timelines set by other companies working on similar technology, including Uber, General Motors and Google.

We just have one question: Who will be charged with teaching the self-driving vehicles the glossary of terms needed to understand Bostonians…or how to interpret the hand gestures they often articulate and clarify key communications among their drivers?

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