(Photo: nuTonomy)

Self-driving cars are our future. And in a few decades, it’s easy to imagine them as ubiquitous, dominating the streets with an efficiency that no human driver can claim to match. 

On Thursday, six self-driving cars made their debut in Singapore, becoming the first self-driving taxis in the world to zoom around on public streets, according to the Associated Press.

A few caveats: the taxis don’t go just anywhere, can only be used by invitation, and still have humans inside as a backup in case anything goes off the rails (or road). 

The cars are operated by a U.S. company called nuTonomy, which beat competitors like Google, Volvo, and Uber to market with the first public self-driving trial. (Uber will launch their own in Pittsburgh in a few weeks.) 

In the meantime, though, expect a lot of starts, stops, and, likely, accidents. It will be a long time before the perfect robotic car is here, a truth nuTonomy acknowledged during Thursday’s rollout. 

“I don’t expect there to be a time where we say, ‘We’ve learned enough,’” the company’s CEO Karl Iagnemma said.