Parliament: 14 autonomous vehicles currently being tested on roads with low traffic

A driverless shuttle being tested at Tanjong Beach on Sentosa.
A driverless shuttle being tested at Tanjong Beach on Sentosa.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT

SINGAPORE - There are currently 14 self-driving cars being tested on public roads here, but these are roads with low traffic to ensure the safety of all road users.

These autonomous vehicles (AVs) are being tested on roads in one-north, the National University of Singapore and Singapore Science Park 1 and 2 areas, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary in Parliament on Wednesday (July 11).

He was replying to Mr Melvin Yong (Tanjong Pagar GRC), who had asked how many self-driving vehicles are being test-driven on public roads here and what measures are in place to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

To ensure the safety of all road users, Dr Janil said the trials for autonomous vehicles must fulfil strict requirements, such as having initial trials conducted on lightly-used roads.

"Further trials in more complex environments will only be allowed when the autonomous vehicles are able to demonstrate a higher level of competency," he said.

Dr Janil said the vehicle must "demonstrate that it can adequately handle basic manoeuvres and come to a safe stop upon the detection of an obstacle".

Such vehicles must also be fitted with a "black box" data recorder - which stores video footage and collects critical data - and have insurance coverage against third-party liability and property damage.

 
 

Also, a safety driver, who is trained to take full control of an autonomous vehicle if necessary, must be present during the trials of these vehicles.

The vehicle must have a fault alert system that will alert the safety driver of any problems, and allow the control of the vehicle to be immediately transferred to the safety driver. Only if developers can prove the competency, reliability and safety of their technology will the requirement for a safety driver be waived.

"We are mindful that AV technology is evolving rapidly. We will review these measures regularly and enhance them if necessary," said Dr Janil.