SINGAPORE - Singapore is second in the world and first in Asia in 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, and including the 2017 launch of the Centre of Excellence for Testing & 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.
The country was however relatively poorly ranked at 15 for technology and innovation.
Satya Ramamurthy, partner and head of infrastructure, government and healthcare at KPMG in Singapore, said: "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.
Mr Ramamurthy said: "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."
Other top performing countries on the index included Norway, the United States, Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, Germany, United Arab Emirates and Japan.