SMRT ties up with Dutch company in plans to bring driverless 'pod' travel into Singapore

SMRT Services and 2getthere announce a joint venture to market, supply and operate 2getthere's Automated Vehicle systems in the Asia-Pacific region.
SMRT Services and 2getthere announce a joint venture to market, supply and operate 2getthere's Automated Vehicle systems in the Asia-Pacific region. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
SMRT Services and 2getthere announce a joint venture to market, supply and operate 2getthere's Automated Vehicle systems in the Asia-Pacific region.
SMRT Services and 2getthere announce a joint venture to market, supply and operate 2getthere's Automated Vehicle systems in the Asia-Pacific region. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
SMRT Services and 2getthere announce a joint venture to market, supply and operate 2getthere's Automated Vehicle systems in the Asia-Pacific region.
SMRT Services and 2getthere announce a joint venture to market, supply and operate 2getthere's Automated Vehicle systems in the Asia-Pacific region. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The interior of the Automated Vehicle.
The interior of the Automated Vehicle.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
SMRT Services and 2getthere announce a joint venture to market, supply and operate 2getthere's Automated Vehicle systems in the Asia-Pacific region.
SMRT Services and 2getthere announce a joint venture to market, supply and operate 2getthere's Automated Vehicle systems in the Asia-Pacific region. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - Driverless "'pods" plying private estates, university campuses and business parks could hit Singapore in a big way, with a new joint venture announced on Wednesday (April 20).

Local transport operator SMRT and Netherlands-based 2getthere has entered into a partnership to form 2getthere Asia - an outfit to bring these automated vehicle systems into Singapore and the region.

By the end of this year, 2getthere Asia aims to showcase what it calls a group rapid transit (GRT) vehicle - an air-conditioned, 24-passenger "pod" - in a live environment in Singapore.

While the GRT is unable to go onto public roads, it can work in what 2getthere calls a "semi-controlled" environment where the behaviour and speeds of other road users can be managed. It can pick up and drop off passengers at designated stops.

2getthere has already installed similar automated vehicle systems in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi and the Rivium Business Park in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Company executives said they are in talks with several organisations in Singapore - including an education campus and a private company - to implement such a system, but declined to reveal names.

As the GRT will not require drivers and can be ordered on-demand, it is touted to be safer and more resource-efficient.

Managing director for SMRT services Colin Lim said: "There is a growing national push to implement future mobility solutions that can meet our first and last-mile connectivity needs in Singapore."

Mr Lim said the GRT could also be deployed in its depots to transport staff.