Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan has stated that over the last two years, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) has signed agreements with various private companies and research institutes to develop and trial such self-driving technologies and concepts.
This is his response to a question filed by Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef who asked the Minister for Transport whether he can provide the latest update and details pertaining to driverless vehicles for use in our public transportation system.
The Minister said that the self-driving technology indeed has the potential to transform public transport. For example, self-driving buses can help address the shortage of bus drivers.
He said that self-driving pods or shuttles can be deployed at the neighbourhood level to further improve the first and last mile of a public transport journey. Commuters can summon these vehicles using their smartphones, and the vehicles will bring them in air-conditioned comfort from their doorsteps to the train station.
“This will be especially useful for the elderly, families with young children, and the less mobile,” he added.
The Minister said that Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is developing self-driving buses for Singapore’s roads and climatic conditions and expect the first on-road testing of NTU’s self-driving buses to commence by the middle of 2018.
He also said that A*STAR, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), Delphi Automotive Systems and nuTonomy are currently conducting self-driving trials in one-north Business Park which would be useful for first and last mile application.
While, ST Engineering and Sentosa Development Corporation will be trialing a fleet of self-driving vehicles to ferry visitors within Sentosa, as Gardens by the Bay had done.
“Plans are underway for more trials,” he added.
“There have been significant and rapid advances in self-driving technology, and we expect it to be mature enough for widespread deployment in 10 to 15 years. Meanwhile, we will continue to press ahead with trials and limited deployment,” stated the Minister.