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Singapore to test self-driving buses

Singapore will be testing self-driving buses which will operate among traffic in certain areas of the city beginning in 2022.

The deployment of autonomous vehicles will become a viable option for Singaporean locals, thanks to a joint effort between the city-state’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Ministry of Transportation (MOT). According to the joint press release, self-driving buses and shuttles will soon move commuters located in Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District (JID) beginning in 2022.

This is not an effort to eliminate man-driven commuter buses off the Singaporean market. The self-driving vehicles will be deployed to function alongside other vehicles. Convenience is the main factor cited as part of the city’s so-called “Smart Urban Mobility solutions” effort that leverage data to maximize public transportation.

The press release called these services complimentary to intra-town travel. Once operational, these buses will provide express transit from “the North-East Line to the North-South, East-West and Thomson East Coast lines.”

Rides will be able to be hailed through apps connected to these soon-to-be available services similar to the on-demand transportation solutions that Uber has been known. The same service is expected to be utilized at the Seletar Aerospace Park.

Khaw Boon Wan, the coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, explained the benefits of this technology. “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. 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.”

Inputs from everyone involved in the transportation industry is encouraged through a Request for Information (RFI). Interested parties are invited to submit their operational concepts on how autonomous fleets can be deployed, what zoning requirements could possibly work given the areas involved, and which fleet management solutions would fit the agencies’ project going forward.

Also, interested parties may find opportunities to connect with stakeholders at the Autonomous Vehicles Asia 2018, an event by the International Quality & Productivity Centre (IQPC).

Singapore’s Director of Futures Division for the Ministry of Transport, Chris Leck, is one of the industry experts expected to deliver a keynote speech about AVs. With autonomous driving technology taking over more and more territories globally, it is only a matter of time until everyone involved in the automobile manufacturing industry will be participating in pushing for better transportation and logistics.

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