Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index: Singapore in top spots

Republic is top in world for policy and public acceptance, and second in infrastructure

A driverless vehicle being tested at Nanyang Technological University amid Singapore's push to be a smart nation.
A driverless vehicle being tested at Nanyang Technological University amid Singapore's push to be a smart nation. PHOTO: SHIN MIN

Singapore is second in the world and top in Asia in terms of its readiness to adopt autonomous vehicles on the strength of its government, infrastructure and consumer acceptance, according to a report by KPMG International.

The Netherlands topped the consulting firm's Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index, which ranked 25 countries on four criteria - policy and legislation, technology and innovation, infrastructure, and consumer acceptance.

Singapore was the top-ranking country in terms of policy and consumer acceptance, and second in infrastructure.

That placement reflected the Singapore Government's efforts to position the country as a centre for autonomous vehicles, including the 2017 launch of the Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous Vehicles at Nanyang Technological University as a test town for driverless vehicles.

Singapore also scored for earmarking Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District as test areas for driverless buses and shuttles for off-peak and on-demand commuting from 2022.

However, the country ranked relatively low - 15th out of the 25 countries - in terms of technology and innovation.

Said Mr Satya Ramamurthy, partner and head of infrastructure, government and healthcare at KPMG in Singapore: "The ecosystem for autonomous vehicles in Singapore is ready and very much aligned with how Singapore is establishing itself as a smart nation and centre for autonomous vehicle development."

He highlighted Singapore's heavy tax rate on cars, which could provide policymakers with a tool to drive adoption of autonomous vehicles.

The Government has also begun to develop a governance framework for artificial intelligence.

"The combination of these factors suggest that Singapore could eventually outpace other countries by 2020 if it continues to focus on technology and innovation to attract autonomous vehicle-related firms as well as build out its autonomous vehicle-related infrastructure," Mr Ramamurthy said.

Other top-performing countries on the index included Norway, the United States, Sweden, Finland, Britain, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and Japan.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2019, with the headline Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index: Singapore in top spots. Subscribe