SINGAPORE - Self-driving buses may soon be ferrying commuters between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the nearby Pioneer MRT station as part of a trial.
These "green" buses will be electric-hybrid vehicles, which have batteries that will be charged when the opportunity arises, such as whenever they stop at a bus stop or depot.
The pilot is a collaboration between the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Nanyang Technological University's (NTU's) Energy Research Institute (ERI@N), which signed an agreement on Wednesday (Oct 19) to develop autonomous bus technologies.
The inking at the opening ceremony of the Singapore International Transport Congress and Exhibition (SITCE) 2016 was witnessed by Senior Minister of State for Transport Ng Chee Meng.
Under the trial, the ERI@N will outfit two existing buses with intelligent sensors and develop a self-driving sensor that can help vehicles navigate Singapore's local road traffic and climate conditions.
Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU chief of staff and vice-president (research), said: "Current efforts worldwide have been focused on cars, so this autonomous bus trial is the first-of-its-kind in Singapore that will aim to improve road safety, reduce vehicle congestion, alleviate pollution and address manpower challenges."
The roads between NTU and Cleantech Park have been identified for the trial for a start, with plans to possibly extend it to Pioneer MRT station.
The LTA-NTU pilot further expands the trial of autonomous vehicles in Singapore. In August, the LTA signed partnerships with two firms, Delphi and nuTonomy, to test driverless car technology at one-north.
Another LTA-NTU agreement was signed on Wednesday, to boost rail reliability through the development of a real-time condition monitoring prototype. This will help detect early signs of defects in traction power.