Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Ministry of Transport (MOT) have announced the pilot deployment of autonomous buses and on-demand shuttles in three commuter districts from 2022.
The autonomous on-demand shuttles are planned to enhance first and last mile connectivity in and around Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District. Passengers, expected to include the elderly, families with young children and the less mobile, will be able to hail the service via their mobile phones.
The autonomous buses will run scheduled services that complement human-driven public buses. They will travel initially on less crowded roads.
“AV technology can greatly enhance the accessibility and connectivity of our public transport system, particularly for the elderly, families with young children, and the less mobile,” said Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan.
“Through the pilot deployment, we can gain insights into how we can design infrastructure, organize services and formulate regulations to better facilitate the safe use of AVs in Singapore.”
The MOT and LTA have launched a Request for Information (RFI) to seek input from the industry and research bodies on the requirements and enablers needed for the successful pilot deployment of autonomous vehicles.
Autonomous vehicle test centre launched
LTA also announced the opening of Singapore’s first autonomous vehicle test centre, which it developed jointly with the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and JTC, the government’s infrastructure agency.
The test facility will support the Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of AVs – NTU (CETRAN), to develop testing requirements for autonomous vehicles.
LTA will work with CETRAN and its partners on developing the necessary standards and testing regimes for the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles on public roads in Singapore.
The autonomous vehicle test centre is designed to replicate the different elements of Singapore’s roads, such as common traffic schemes and road infrastructure. Its test circuit also features a rain simulator and flood zone to assess how autonomous vehicles navigate in different weather conditions.
“Like many urban cities in the world, Singaporeans rely heavily on a mix of public transport, personal cars and taxis for their daily commute, and autonomous vehicles are expected to play an increasing role in future mobility solutions,” said Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s Acting Provost, Chief of Staff and Vice President for Research.