Innovation

Boston Allows Self-Driving Startup Back On Public Roads

Self-driving startup nuTonomy can continue testing its cars on public roads in Boston.

According to Reuters, the company, owned by Aptiv Plc, had been asked by the city to stop testing last week after Uber’s fatal self-driving crash in Arizona.

In that case, one of Uber’s self-driving cars in Tempe, Arizona, struck and killed a pedestrian on March 18, which is the first known fatality of a pedestrian by an autonomous vehicle.

Following the accident, Uber temporarily removed its vehicles from the streets of Tempe, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Toronto, all of the locations it has been testing the new technology.

NuTonomy Chief Executive Karl Iagnemma told reporters at an event in New York on Tuesday that testing resumed today after talks with the city. “We’re back on the road,” he said.

And in December, the company announced that passengers in Boston’s Seaport district will experience self-driving rides on the Lyft network in nuTonomy vehicles. The collaboration gives Lyft the chance to work with a company working on the technology, while nuTonomy now has immediate access to an existing ridesharing network.

“Our partnership with Lyft has two goals,” nuTonomy wrote in a statement on its website at the time. “First, we want to let members of the public experience driverless vehicles firsthand, so they can better understand the impact this new technology will have on their lives. Second, based on feedback from pilot participants, nuTonomy’s engineers will adapt and improve our system, so that we can deliver an autonomous transportation experience that is extremely safe, efficient and comfortable.”

But the Uber accident is sure to result in calls for tougher regulation of self-driving vehicles. Congress had introduced regulation to encourage both safety and further innovation, but that bill was stalled in the Senate this year due to concerns about the safety of self-driving cars.

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