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Self-Driving Cars Could Be Operating Daily In 1-2 Years—Just Not in Big Cities

The engineering has been a bigger challenge than expected, Voyage CEO Oliver Cameron says, even for places like retirement communities. But not impossible.

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Oliver Cameron co-founded the self-driving car start-up Voyage in 2017 on the theory that retirement communities are the perfect place to launch a robo-taxi service. Their low-speed, low-traffic roads make the engineering challenge easier. And retirees, many of whom are unwilling or unable to drive themselves, are an obvious clientele. “We’re focused on serving senior citizens, who we believe are the best first customer for driverless technology,” says Cameron.

Before the pandemic forced it to pause passenger trips, Voyage provided rides in a fleet of ten minivans, with safety drivers, to roughly 4,000 residents of The Villages retirement community in San Jose, California. It also has been testing a small fleet in a community in Florida, coincidentally called The Villages, that is home to 125,000 people. Voyage has multiyear agreements with both locations to be an exclusive robo-taxi provider.