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Rain delay for self-driving car test in South Boston

Karl Iagnemma is the cofounder of nuTonomy, which is set to begin testing its self-driving car in Boston this week.
Karl Iagnemma is the cofounder of nuTonomy, which is set to begin testing its self-driving car in Boston this week.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Weather has delayed plans to test autonomous car technology in South Boston.

NuTonomy Inc., a Cambridge company developing self-driving cars, plans to begin testing its car at the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park this week. But under an agreement with government officials, the car must log 100 miles in good weather and full daylight before tackling more difficult conditions.

On Tuesday morning, it was about 40 degrees and raining in Boston. So instead of testing its self-driving technology around the 3 miles of roads in the Marine Park, nuTonomy’s car collected data about its surroundings with an engineer driving, the company said.

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NuTonomy’s cars could eventually be tested on the real roadways around Boston. But they’ll first have to complete about 200 miles of tests in the Marine Park, which is crisscrossed by buses, delivery trucks, passenger cars, and pedestrians.

NuTonomy outfits existing passenger cars with cameras and sensors that help the company’s software guide the vehicle around obstacles and through traffic. But someone will be behind the wheel during all of the Boston test drives to take control if needed.

The company already has tested its technology on the streets of Singapore, where nuTonomy’s system was used to test an autonomous taxi service in a small section of the city. NuTonomy is the first company approved for autonomous car tests by city and state officials, who are hoping to keep pace with similar programs in California and Pennsylvania.


Curt Woodward can be reached at curt.woodward@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @curtwoodward.