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Boston’s first self-driving car tests will start next week

Boston’s first self-driving car tests will start next week


But don’t expect any taxi rides yet

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Massachusetts transportation officials have approved self-driving startup nuTonomy’s application to test autonomous cars in Boston. Now that it has the go ahead, NuTonomy — which was originally spun out of MIT — will start testing on January 3rd.

“We are ready to go, basically could have been testing any time over the last couple of weeks, we were just waiting for this final approval,” nuTonomy CEO Karl Iagnemma told the Boston Herald.

Simple tests, to start

NuTonomy’s tests will be simple at the outset. The company’s Renault Zoe electric cars will be restricted to Boston’s new Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park, which is an industrial park the Herald says is devoid of traffic lights but frequented by bikes and commuters. A nuTonomy engineer will be in the cars at all times.

NuTonomy has the distinction of being the first self-driving startup to offer its services to paying customers — the cars started picking up passengers in Singapore back in August, and the company partnered with ride-hailing service Grab the following month.

But nuTonomy won’t be picking up Bostonians any time soon — which is probably a good thing, because those early rides in Singapore were a little clumsy.