Driverless drones, vehicles could soon be trialled in Sentosa

SINGAPORE - Driverless drones and vehicles could soon be trialled in Sentosa, the Government's new testbed for cutting-edge smart nation applications.

The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and Sentosa Development Corp said yesterday that they will work with the private sector to create prototypes to solve the manpower crunch and improve services in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

"Drones could be sent to assess the terrain (for cleanliness) and then autonomous vehicles dispatched later to clean up the mess," said Mr Khoong Hock Yun, IDA assistant chief executive officer.

Other possibilities include driverless lawn mowers and an app to allow visitors to book buggies to move from one part of the island to another.

Mr Chin Sak Hin, Sentosa Development Corp's chief financial officer, said that Sentosa is a good testbed as it is a self-contained island resort with free Wi-Fi already available at several key locations.

They are the Beach Station, Imbiah Lookout, The Port of Lost Wonder and Mount Faber Leisure Group's cable car stations and retail outlets.

"We hope to use technology to do more without hiring more people," said Mr Chin. He added that the first trials could start in the next six to 12 months.

Sentosa Development Corp and IDA may co-fund the projects - open to local start-ups, research institutes and universities. Immediate areas of focus include transportation, safety and security services, landscaping and waste and crowd management.

Successful projects will be fine-tuned for deployment on mainland Singapore.