Local self-driving expertise needed to develop public transport

We thank Mr Kelvin Leong Moon Kit for his views on the value of conducting local research and development on self-driving vehicles ("Is researching driverless tech the right road to take?"; Jan 12).

There are indeed many automakers and technology developers worldwide conducting research on self-driving vehicles (SDVs), with the majority of them focused on transforming driving for the private car owner.

Given Singapore's constraints in land and manpower, our strategic priority is to apply self-driving technology to improve our public transport system, for example, self-driving buses and a fleet of self-driving pods to provide first- and last-mile connectivity.

We are also exploring how the technology can be applied for use in the areas of freight transport and utility vehicles.

We have signed agreements with various private companies and research institutes to develop and test such self-driving technologies and concepts.

Companies involved in trials are encouraged to set up their R&D and engineering centres here, providing job opportunities and building up our capabilities in different areas of SDV development, such as cyber security, fleet management systems and system integration.

It is worth noting that self-driving technology involves numerous component technologies beyond just vehicle manufacturing.

Lam Wee Shann
Director (Futures)
Ministry of Transport

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2017, with the headline 'Local self-driving expertise needed to develop public transport'. Print Edition | Subscribe