In a joint media release by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Ministry of Transport (MOT) earlier on 21 March, driverless vehicles to sweep roads in Singapore will be tested out in the year 2020.

The AESVs (Autonomous Environmental Service Vehicles) would be designed, developed and tested by two consortiums in accordance to a Request for Proposals issued in December 2017.

The consortiums consist of “experienced and established” players from the autonomous vehicles and environmental services industries, said NEA and MOT.

The first consortium comprises Nanyang Technological University, Enway, Veolia ES Singapore Industrial and Wong Fong Engineering Works, while the second is made up of ST Engineering Land Systems and 800 Super Waste Management.

The vehicles’ safety features will be tested in two stages; first, within a circuit at the CETRAN AV Test Centre then on public roads at designated autonomous vehicle (AV) test sites such as one-north following a stringent assessment.

The authorities also mentioned that the AESVs will have a trained safety driver on board at all times for the duration of the trials to take immediate control of the vehicle with regards to strict operational protocols.

(Source: Dulevo International)

Once the trials are successfully completed, the pilot deployment of the AESVs for road cleaning will take effect after 2020.

“Building on existing technologies used on our mechanical sweeper vehicles to monitor the progress and status of road cleaning, these projects seek to further automate road cleaning, by catalysing the local robotics industry to build up expertise and experience in delivering environmental robotic solutions, which can then be commercialised and potentially exported,” said NEA CEO Tan Meng Dui.

Such vehicles also have the potential to improve productivity, said Permanent Secretary for Transport Loh Ngai Seng also elaborated on how the deployment of AESVs would improve the productivity of road cleaning operations and “optimise the use of (our) road network”.

“With reduced reliance on manpower, we can potentially shift road cleaning activities to the night and reduce congestion during the day,” he added.

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