Watercooler covers offbeat news, zealous speculation, and outlandish rumors on robotics and drones.
Grab, an Uber rival that’s popular in Southeast Asia, is partnering with self-driving taxi startup nuTonomy, according to Buzzfeed. nuTonomy is a Singapore-based startup that, just last week, began offering rides in its self-driving taxis.
The newly-christened relationship between the two Southeast Asian companies is still a rumor, but if true, puts Grab in the race towards autonomous vehicles. The rival is pitted against Uber, who announced earlier this month that it would offer self-driving rides in souped up Volvos in Pittsburgh.
Grab operates in thirty cities across six countries, mainly in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Grab CEO Anthony Tan told Recode he is open for a partnership with an autonomous transportation company. Albeit, when the self-driving technology is ready. Since both Grab and nuTonomy operate in Singapore, the rumored partnership makes sense.
Operating ride-hailing services in Asia can be tough. Maps aren’t always as developed as they are in other countries, but Singapore does have its own highly-mapped road system. That’s a plus for autonomous cars, especially ones that rely on mapped data to compensate for hard-to-interpret road signs.
Simplebotics reached out to nuTonomy and Grab, but both companies declined to comment on the rumored partnership.