Singapore is on track to become the first country to incorporate fully autonomous vehicles as a form of public transport.
This week, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced two trial autonomous vehicle projects in collaboration with Delphi Automotive Systems, and Singapore-based startup, nuTonomy.
The trial aims to incorporate on-demand autonomous vehicles to ease commuters’ “first-and-last-mile” of travel between a transport service and their main destination.
The project is considered the first step for Singapore in moving towards the Government’s vision of a “car-lite future”, where self-driving vehicles can take you directly to your front door from the station or self-driving pods delivering you to nearby amenities.
Delphi’s project consists of trialing a point-to-point service with a fleet of autonomous vehicles in the business park of Singapore, and will eventually look at providing self-driving shuttles to cater for more commuters.
Whereas, nuTonomy will aim to provide autonomous vehicles on-demand by 2018 and allow commuters to order vehicles through smartphones to take them from destination to destination.
The collaboration with LTA falls under Singapore’s Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (SAVI) agenda, which focuses on providing a technical platform to conduct research, development and testing of autonomous technology to prepare for the future development of autonomous vehicles in Singapore.
Commenting on the announcement, nuTonomy’s CEO Karl Iagnemma, said “this innovative collaboration with LTA will accelerate the pace of change we are bringing to the fundamentals of human transportation by enhancing our ability to deploy a fleet of self-driving vehicles to serve the people of Singapore.”
By providing a mobility-on-demand service, the collaboration hopes to encourage the use of public transport and therefore reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions.
Not only will the launch of the autonomous vehicles assist commuters, reduce traffic and emissions, but it is envisioned that it can also be utilised to help bring mobility to the elderly and passengers who have difficulty in taking public transport.
Should these trials be successful, the projects would be developed into full-scale mobility solutions for a number of towns in Singapore.
Commenting on Singapore’s aspirations in the area of autonomous vehicle technology, Chief Executive of LTA, Chew Men Leong, concluded:
“If successful, we will be able to deploy these services in various towns to serve commuters, bringing us another step closer to achieving our car-lite vision.”