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Singapore to develop truck platooning system

The Singapore Ministry of Transport and PSA International have partnered with automotive companies Scania and Toyota Tsusho for the design, development and testing of an autonomous truck platooning system for use within the Port of Singapore.

Truck platooning design to be tested on container transfers within the Port of Singapore
Source: sattahipbeach / Shutterstock

   Singapore’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) and PSA International, formerly known as the Port of Singapore Authority, have partnered with automotive companies Scania and Toyota Tsusho for the design, development and testing of an autonomous truck platooning system.
   The agreements follow an October 2015 memorandum of understanding between MOT and PSA to cooperate on and jointly fund truck platooning research.
   The concept of truck platooning involves a convoy of autonomous trucks that are lead by a single truck driven by a person. In theory, the use of driverless trucks will help mitigate a drayage driver shortage and ease road congestion by allowing for more nighttime cargo moves.
   Once the system is developed, it will be tested with trucks transporting ocean containers between terminals in the Port of Singapore.
   The first phase of the truck platooning trials, which will take place in two phases over a three-year period from January 2017 to December 2019, will focus on the design, testing and refining the necessary technology and will be conducted by Scania and Toyota in their respective research centers in Sweden and Japan in order to leverage their existing development work.
   MOT and PSA will then select one of the two companies to proceed with the second phase, which will consist of local trials and some additional development of the technology in Singapore. The phase 2 trials will involve inter-terminal moves between the Brani and Pasir Panjang terminals in the Port of Singapore, but could eventually be expanded to include the entire port area, even the future Tuas Terminal currently under construction.
   “Trucking as we know it today is a highly labour-intensive industry. We face a shortage of truck drivers. In this regard, truck platooning technology presents us with an opportunity to boost productivity in both the port sector and the trucking industry,” Pang Kin Keong, permanent secretary for transport and chairman of the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport in Singapore (CARTS), said in a statement. “It will also open up opportunities for truck drivers to take on higher-skilled roles as fleet operators and managers.”
    “As PSA prepares for our future terminals at Tuas, it is timely that we move on to the next steps in developing autonomous truck platooning technology,” added PSA International Regional CEO, Southeast Asia Ong Kim Pong. “I am excited by the progress being made, as it underlines our joint commitment to being future-ready, while also helping us continue to serve our customers better through fast and efficient inter-terminal container movement.”

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