Driverless buses soon to roll on Singapore roads

Singapore will soon have driverless buses on the roads. The  Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Monday signed a partnership agreement with ST Kinetics to develop and trial autonomous buses.

Driverless buses will be equipped with  satellite-based Global Positioning (GPS) System and a suite of sensors to scan and determine their location and immediate surroundings.
Driverless buses will be equipped with satellite-based GPS and a suite of sensors to scan and determine their location and immediate surroundings. Photo courtesy: seasia.co

In the press release, LTA said, “ST Kinetics will develop and integrate the AV ( Autonomous Vehicles) technologies onto two 40-seater electric buses that can be deployed to serve fixed and scheduled services for intra- and inter-town travel in the future.”

It added, “To navigate autonomously, the buses will use a satellite-based Global Positioning (GPS) System and a suite of sensors to scan and determine their location and immediate surroundings. The buses will also have radars and sonars that are able to detect other vehicles and pedestrians up to 200m ahead.”

In addition, ST Kinetics is also working to improve the autonomous buses’ ability to navigate in heavier rain conditions, up from the current 10mm/h to 30mm/h.

Prototype of driverless bus
Prototype of driverless bus which will be rolled out on Singapore roads. Photo courtesy: LTA

LTA further said,“The three-and-a-half year project will see the autonomous buses being tested in various environments. LTA is working with stakeholders such as the National University of Singapore (NUS) as well as JTC to look at suitable trial locations, which can potentially include Jurong Island and NUS’campus. The initial testing will be conducted during off-peak periods at an industrial area where the road infrastructure is less complex. As the autonomous buses are gradually equipped with more advanced capabilities, they will be progressively introduced to more complex trial sites.”

Speaking about the AV technology, Lam Wee Shann, LTA’s Chief Technology Officer, said, “Currently, most AV technology developers are focusing their efforts on developing self-driving cars. Singapore’s need for high-capacity vehicles to address commuters’ peak-hour demands presents an opportunity for companies such as ST Kinetics to develop autonomous buses to address this latent demand. This is also in line with the whole-of-government effort to explore and apply smart technologies to improve our lives. We are excited to partner ST Kinetics to develop autonomous electric buses, that if successfully deployed, will benefit commuters and greatly change the way we travel.”

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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