Southeast Asian ride-hailing company Grab has teamed up with Singapore technology firm Nutonomy to trial self-driving cars.

The trial will give Grab users the chance to experience a ride-hailing driverless taxi – Nutonomy is one of the leading developers of self-driving cars.

During the trial all vehicles will have back-up drivers to ease safety concerns.

The announcement follows Grab’s rival Uber trialling driverless cars last month. The company confirmed it had started working with car manufacturer Volvo to trial self-driving taxis in Pittsburgh.

The other large ride-hailing service Lyft has teamed up with General Motors, whose CEO has predicted driverless taxis in the next five years.

Grab will use the trial to conduct user experience research around how passengers book and interact with self-driving vehicles. The results will be used to enhance the company’s routing technology, mapping and safety.

Karl Iagnemma, CEO and co-founder of Nutonomy, said: “Partnering with Grab to expand our public trial in Singapore will yield valuable feedback and consumer insights as Nutonomy readies our on-demand self-driving car service for commercial launch in 2018.

“Nutonomy’s sophisticated software enables self-driving vehicles to navigate complex urban environments comfortably and safely. This exciting new partnership with a leading ride-hailing company – and its large and growing customer base across Asia – will ensure that we’re also delivering a high quality transportation service that consumers trust.”

Earlier this month Google launched its own ride-sharing service to rival Uber. It has began a pilot programme in May around its headquarters in California that enables workers to connect with other commuters and offer rides similar to carpooling but at a cost.

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