Self-Driving Vehicles (SDVs): Future of Mobility in Singapore

Why self-driving technology?

Self-driving technology has the potential to radically transform our transport system and improve our living environment. We are exploring the application of self-driving technology to public transport not only to bring in new forms of shared mobility, but also to address the constraints we face in land and manpower.

What is self driving technology

Image: LTA



The technology also holds great potential for the freight transportation and utility services sectors, in part to address manpower challenges and also to ease traffic congestion during peak hours by deploying autonomous systems at night. LTA has signed agreements with companies to develop solutions for autonomous truck platooning to transport containers from one port terminal to another, as well as issued a Request for Information for the development of self-driving utility vehicles for waste collection and road sweeping.

 

What's in the works?

We have launched trials for autonomous mobility-on-demand services, which are envisaged to comprise a fleet of shared self-driving shuttles or pods that commuters will be able to book through their smartphones to bring them in air-conditioned comfort from their doorstep to the train station or other neighbourhood amenities, for instance. This provides for:

  • a more comfortable option for first-and-last-mile connectivity, and
  • bring greater mobility to the elderly and other commuters who may have difficulties in taking present-day public transport.

In addition, a three-and-a-half year project is underway to develop and trial autonomous buses with the possibility to be deployed to serve fixed and scheduled services for intra- and inter-town travel in the future.

 

 

Self-driving Vehicle (SDV) trials in Singapore

  • A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R)

    • Self-driving vehicle was the first to be approved for public road testing at one-north in July 2015.
    • It has ferried several dignitaries such as our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Minister S. Iswaran, Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, and several Ministers from other countries.

    ASTAR Self Driving Vehicle PM ride

    Image: A*STAR

     

     

     
  • National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART)
    • Since 2010, they have collaborated to test a fleet of self-driving golf-buggies. Working research prototypes have been demonstrated around the NUS campus. Rides are requested via a smartphone by selecting desired pick-up and drop-off locations.
    • The team also conducted the first ever local public trials of self-driving vehicles at the Chinese and Japanese Gardens in October 2014.
    • The team has since retrofitted an electric passenger car and was the second vehicle to be approved for more complex testing on public roads in Singapore. The team has started testing at one-north since September 2015.

SMART electric passenger car

Image: SMART

 

    • A prototype of a four-wheel self-driving Personal Mobility Device was also unveiled for public trial in November 2016. The device is developed to provide mobility to persons with reduced mobility, including the elderly, youth and people with disabilities, and is intended to complement the existing transportation system.

SMART four-wheel self-driving Personal Mobility Device

Image: SMART

 

  • nuTonomy, an MIT / SMART spin-off
    • A developer of autonomous vehicle technology with focus on launching a commercial autonomous mobility-on-demand service in Singapore. The company is led by two of the pioneers in this field from MIT, Drs. Karl Lagnemma (CEO) and Emilio Frazzoli (CTO). It has offices in Boston and Singapore, and employs experts in perception, motion planning, and decision-making with PhDs from MIT, Caltech, NUS, and NTU, as well as other leading academic institutions.
    • nuTonomy’s software has been tested in the US, Singapore, and Europe.
    • nuTonomy was the first private company - and the third applicant - to obtain approval for public road testing at one-north as of April 2016.

nuTonomy self driving vehicle technology

Image: nuTonomy

 

  • Gardens by the Bay, in collaboration with ST Engineering
    • Introduced the Auto Rider, the first fully-operational SDV in Asia aimed at enhancing connectivity within the Gardens and providing visitors with an alternative, revolutionary mode of getting around.
    • Fully electric-powered and air-conditioned, each vehicle has a capacity of 10 people.
    • On 22 June 2016, Gardens by the Bay launched the Auto Rider for public rides.

Gardens by the Bay Autorider

Image: Gardens by the Bay

 

  • Energy Research Institute (ERI@N) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
    • The self-driving golf cart and electric shuttle around NTU and CleanTech Park (an eco-business development in Jurong) can fetch up to 8 people and travel at a maximum speed of 20 km/h.
    • A self-driving, air-conditioned shuttle that can carry up to 15 passengers will soon ply a 1.5km  route between CleanTech Park and the NTU campus.
    • These are part of NTU’s plans to eventually trial two full-sized autonomous bus in its campus in 2018.

  Energy Research Institute self-driving golf cart and electric shuttle

Images: LTA, NTU

 

  • LTA and ST Kinetics
    • ST Kinetics will develop and integrate autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies onto two 40-seater electric buses. These buses will use a satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) and a suite of sensors to scan and determine their location and immediate surroundings. Radars and sonars will also detect other vehicles and pedestrians up to 200m ahead.
    • The three-and-a-half year project will also look into improving autonomous buses’ ability to navigate in heavier rain conditions, up from the current 10mm/h to 30mm/h.
    • The autonomous buses will be tested in various locations, scenarios and environments, which can potentially include Jurong Island and NUS campus.

ST Kinetics Autonomous Bus Prototype

Source: LTA, Graphic: TODAY

 

  • MOT and PSA collaboration with Scania and Toyota
    • In two phases over a three-year period from January 2017 to December 2019, the collaboration will involve developing technologies to enable heavy vehicles to move in leader-follower formation, as well as to fully automate the processes for precise docking and undocking of cargo.
    • Phase 1 trials will be conducted in the companies’ respective research centres, following which MOT and PSA Corporation will select one company for phase 2 trial. A 10-km long test route along West Coast Highway has been designated for the phase 2 trials.

 

  • Katoen Natie and VDL
    • 12 driverless trucks will go on trial on Jurong Island from September 2017. The trucks will be retrofitted with autonomous systems which will communicate with transponders installed in the road. 
    • The trucks will ply a fixed 6km to 8km route as part of the initial phase, then guided by satellite in the next phase. The trucks will eventually ply public roads.

     

Katoen Natie driverless trucks

Image: Katoen Natie

 

 

What can we look forward to?

LTA is also evaluating several exciting proposals from local and international companies to develop and test mobility-on-demand concepts and self-driving buses, and SDVs for shared, on-demand, point-to-point mobility. These trials, if they go well, will pave the way for SDVs to become, in time, an integral part of the Singapore transport system.

 

Autonomous Vehicle Technology and the future of transport

Image: Ministry of Transport

 

 




Useful links:

Driverless Trucks to Start Trials on Jurong Island in September

LTA Inks Agreement with ST Kinetics to Develop and Trial Autonomous Buses

Factsheet: Leveraging Technology for a Smarter and Greener Transport System

NTU Tests New Autonomous Electric Shuttle

Singapore to Start Truck Platooning Trials

Factsheet: Facilitating the One-North AV Test-Bed

On the Road to a more Sustainable and Reliable Transport System

How Autonomous Vehicle Technology Impacts the Future of Transport

Driverless Vehicles: A Vision for Singapore’s Transport

LTA, JTC & A*STAR – A SAVI Step Towards Autonomous Transport

Speech by SMS Josephine Teo – Committee on Autonomous Road Transport for Singapore

Speech by PS Pang Kin Keong – Future Mobility

MOT & LTA – Self-Driving Vehicles will Transform Singapore’s Transport Landscape

MOT & Gardens by the Bay – First Fully-Operational Self-Driving Vehicle in Asia Set to Ply Gardens by the Bay in Mid-2016

MOT & PSA – Autonomous Truck Platooning Technology to Boost Port Productivity

MOT, SDC & ST Engineering – On-Demand Self-Driving Shuttles in Sentosa at the Touch of a Smartphone

LTA to Launch Autonomous Mobility-on-Demand Trials

Committee on Autonomous Road Transport for Singapore (CARTS)

 

 

Last updated on 01 Feb 2018