The world's first self-driving taxis commenced their trips in Singapore today, The New York Times reported.

Select members of the public can avail the services of these vehicles through nuTonomy, a taxi hailing app. The company initially started with six taxi units, while hoping to double the fleet by the end of the year.

The report said the company's ultimate goal is to have a fully self-driving taxi fleet in Singapore by 2018.

Aiming to cut the number of cars on Singapore's congested roads, nuTonomy hoped that the project could be adopted in cities around the world.

For now, the taxis only run within a 2.5-square-mile (6.5 square kilometer) business and residential district called "one-north," with pickups and drop-offs at selected locations only.

Riders must have an invitation from nuTonomy to use the service. The company said dozens have signed up for the project launch, prompting them to expand the list to thousands of people within a few months.

The cars, modified Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV electrics, have a driver in front who can take the wheel if needed and a researcher in the back who watches the car's computers.

Each car is fitted with six sets of Lidar - a detection system that uses lasers to operate like radar - including one that constantly spins on the roof. There are also two cameras on the dashboard to scan for obstacles and detect changes in traffic light.

Doug Parker, CEO of nuTonomy, said the introduction of driverless cars would eventually help Singapore in reducing the number of vehicles on its roads to a third, which currently stands at 900,000.

"When you are able to take that many cars off the road, it creates a lot of possibilities. You can create smaller roads, you can create much smaller car parks. I think it will change how people interact with the city going forward," he said.