Also, Singapore students will be able to buy lunch with their fingerprints and Uber raises its prices in Hong Kong
NuTonomy is targeting Q2 2018 for paid driverless rides in Singapore
NuTonomy, the US-based driverless car company that has made significant investment in Singapore, told Reuters it is targetting Q2 2018 to launch commercial paid riding services in the Lion City.
The cars will continue to have a human driver should something go wrong during the drive.
Commercial services are seen as the first-step for autonomous vehicles as the technology is currently too expensive to jump straight into mass-consumer market adoption.
NuTonomy is currently partnered with the Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab for its testing, but the company said it is unclear if the paid commercial offering will involve Grab.
Uber hikes fees in Hong Kong, a city that has proven legally difficult for the ride-sharing giant
On Monday, Uber raised its prices in Hong Kong to US$5.75 for UberASSIST rides while UberBLACK rides would start at US$8.30 across the city, according to Reuters. The company told Reuters it is not having trouble financing the service in Hong Kong but adjusted its prices according to “market evaluations” in the city.
The price increase would go towards the drivers who would make more money using the service.
Uber has struggled for years in Hong Kong as the city routinely cracks down on drivers who do not acquire the proper ‘car for hire’ permits. In May, the city arrested 21 drivers for this charge. The ride-hailing giant has consistently pushed back, saying Hong Kong must do a better job of embracing innovation.
Singapore primary school students may be able to use fingerprints to pay for lunch, other things
In the next 12-18 months, Singaporean primary school students may no longer have to bring cash or credit cards to school. In conjunction with POSB, the city’s school systems plan to launch a biometric payment tool that allows students to use two fingerprints to buy items.
Called Touché the biometric scanning devices will not themselves store the fingerprint data, but rather will pull the information from a cloud storage facility. The sensors are FBI-certified and read 45 individual data points to enhance security.
Virtual reality companies race to the bottom
A week after Facebook cut the price of its Oculus Rift headset to US$499, HTC followed suit, slashing US$200 off the price of its Vive headset. The Vive will now cost US$599, making it US$100 more expensive than the Rift.
HTC told engadget that it will not cut inventory and said the move was an effort to remain competitive with the Rift pricing. The company also said its inventory will remain the same and the move does not preempt the release of future hardware.
For the VR industry, the price cuts by industry leaders is important as the devices are now in a price range that may attract gamers choosing between VR and, say, a Nintendo Switch (which goes for about US$500 in Singapore).
Singapore government pushes National Digital Identity scheme
The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office for Singapore, called its push for a National Digital Identity scheme a ‘cornerstone’ of the country’s Smart Nation policy and is crucial to help promote the widespread adoption of technology amongst its citizens, according to Channel New Asia.
The digital identity programme would be an upgrade of the SingPass system which is an online system that lets Singapore residents take care of government-related administrative tasks.
The government says that over the next six months it will launch trials to create a “more convenient and secure system”. The agency hopes the new platform would become fully operational in about three years.
The post Captain’s Log, August 21: NuTonomy hopes to launch paid driverless rides in Singapore by mid-2018 appeared first on e27.
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