Self-driving taxi developer Voyage has announced the deployment of its first driverless taxi service in a retirement community in California.
The company has introduced three self-driving cars to The Villages, a 4,000 strong community in San Jose, which offers the autonomous vehicles 15 miles of private roads to navigate.
"Deploying in a small community is the fastest way to deliver truly driverless cars to the largest communities on the planet."
Residents can hail one of the self-driving taxis through a mobile app, something blind resident Beverly Clifford did when she became Voyage’s inaugural passenger.
“I have driven with sighted people that probably do a worse job than a self-driving car,” said Clifford. “I am a science fiction reader, I really believe this is coming, and will be safe.”
The company sees retirement and residential communities as an ideal testing ground for its driverless taxis, as it builds towards operating in cities.
“Deploying in a small community is the fastest way to deliver truly driverless cars to the largest communities on the planet,” said Voyage CEO Oliver Cameron in a blog post announcing the project.
“By starting small, we can iterate and deliver on a product with a speed and focus that we just couldn’t do on public streets.”
Voyage’s initiative comes soon after seniors’ lifestyle and care provider IRT Group and driverless technology firm RDM Autonomous announced a partnership to test driverless cars in aged care communities in Australia.