Autonomous vehicle trials to hit public areas including Gardens by the Bay soon

From December, visitors to Gardens by the Bay will be able to hop on to driverless shuttles that will take them around the grounds.
From December, visitors to Gardens by the Bay will be able to hop on to driverless shuttles that will take them around the grounds. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
The two Auto Riders can each accommodate 10 people.
The two Auto Riders can each accommodate 10 people. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
The Auto Riders were trialed in Switzerland and are making their Asian debut here.
The Auto Riders were trialed in Switzerland and are making their Asian debut here.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Singapore is embarking on a series of real-life trials to prepare for the day when driverless vehicles become as ubiquitous as smartphones.

The Transport Ministry on Monday (Oct 12) signed two memoranda of understanding - one with PSA to jointly develop autonomous truck platooning technology for cargo transport between terminals and another with Sentosa Development Corp and ST Engineering to test self-driving shuttles across Sentosa.

A*Star's Institute for Infocomm Research and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology have started driverless trials in one-north, while the Nanyang Technological University has been doing the same on its campus grounds.

From December, visitors to Gardens by the Bay will be able to hop on to driverless shuttles that will take them around its sprawling grounds. The two Auto Riders can each accommodate 10 people and are wheelchair-accessible. Trialed in Switzerland, they are making their Asian debut here.

Permanent Secretary for the Transport Ministry Pang Kin Keong said: "Self-driving vehicles can radically transform land transportation in Singapore to address our two key constraints - land and manpower.

"The trials will help us shape the mobility concepts which can meet Singapore's needs, and also gain valuable insights into how we can design our towns of the future to take advantage of this technology."

Unlike autonomous vehicle trials elsewhere, Singapore's focus was to employ the technology for public buses, freight, autonomous taxis, and utility operations such as road sweepers.