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August 25, 2016

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: The world’s first network of fully self-driving taxis is up and running.

NuTonomy, a self-driving company that spun out of MIT and is based in Singapore and Cambridge, Mass., has just launched the first-ever public test of a commercial fleet of fully self-driving cars.

The company, which will be testing its ride-hail service in a Singaporean business district called 1 North, has been testing its self-driving technology in the area since April and was chosen to be the Singapore government’s official partner in the development of this technology earlier this month. NuTonomy plans to deploy a full fleet of vehicles — at least 1,000 — in Singapore by 2018.

Through the test, a select number of people will be able to hail one of six nuTonomy cars — either a Renault Zoe or a Mitsubishi i-MiEV that the company has retrofitted with sensory and self-driving technology — using the company’s proprietary ride-hail app. A nuTonomy engineer will remain on board to ensure the system is working properly and to take over if needed.

The real test will be if passengers are still willing to enter cabs without a nuTonomy engineer.