Singapore to Roll Out Self-driving Electric Buses by 2020
Singapore shows the world how it is done with its world-class top-notch public transportation, has just raised the bar. Commuters in Singapore will soon experience self-driving electric buses that will provide a safer, efficient and sustainable public transportation.
On Monday Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has signed a partnership agreement with ST Kinetics to develop and conduct trials on autonomous buses.
Under the partnership agreement, ST Kinetics will develop and integrate the AV technologies onto two 40-seater electric buses that can be deployed to serve fixed and scheduled services for intra- and inter-town travel in the future.
What’s in the Bus
The autonomous buses will use a satellite-based Global Positioning (GPS) System and a suite of sensors to scan and determine their location and immediate surroundings. The buses will also have radars and sonars that are able to detect other vehicles and pedestrians up to 200m ahead. Improvements will be made on the autonomous buses’ ability to navigate in heavier rain conditions, up from the current 10mm rain per hour to 30mm rain per hour.
Testing the Autonomous Bus
ST Kinetics will have three-and-a-half year to conduct tests, trial run and improve on the autonomous bus technology. Potential trial locations include Jurong Island and National University of Singapore (NUS). The initial testing will be conducted during off-peak periods at an industrial area where the road infrastructure is less complex. As the autonomous buses are gradually equipped with more advanced capabilities, they will be progressively introduced to more complex trial sites. The trial could also be extended to public roads in towns to prepare for full-scale operations in the future.
According to people familiar with the matter, the two autonomous electric buses and a minibus will be unveiled by 2018 and scheduled to hit the roads by October 2020.
Public Transport and Autonomous Vehicles
“Currently, most AV technology developers are focusing their efforts on developing self-driving cars. Singapore’s need for high-capacity vehicles to address commuters’ peak-hour demands presents an opportunity for companies such as ST Kinetics to develop autonomous buses to address this latent demand. This is also in line with the whole-of-government effort to explore and apply smart technologies to improve our lives. We are excited to partner ST Kinetics to develop autonomous electric buses, that if successfully deployed, will benefit commuters and greatly change the way we travel.” Said LTA’s Chief Technology Officer, Mr Lam Wee Shann.
The partnership with ST Kinetics to develop autonomous bus technology is part of efforts by the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport for Singapore (CARTS) to catalyze the development and deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs) to enhance Singapore’s land transport system.
This is the fourth autonomous technology partnership agreement signed, adding to LTA’s ongoing partnerships with the Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) to develop and trial autonomous bus technology, and with Delphi and nuTonomy to conduct on-demand autonomous-mobility-as-a-service trials.