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A SMART Driverless Future in Singapore

Imagine a day without a driver behind the wheel of any car on the road. Singapore is leading the pack in making this vision come true. As Google is setting it’s driverless vehicle on the road in California this summer, Singapore received applications to authorize the trial of a driverless taxi on public roads in the one-north district.

The Singapore Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (SAVI), launched August 2014, kickstarted research into autonomous vehicle (AV) transportation and test-bedding. SAVI also started exploring applications and solutions from industry partners and stakeholders. The work conducted by SAVI will create a strategic vision for the concept of AV mobility in Singapore.

In October of 2014, two driverless buggies were deployed in the Chinese and Japanes gardens. These buggies were organized by the SMART team as a trial for their research. People interested in riding an AV would make a reservation on their website.

In June, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore released a Request for Information (RFI) in order to study how AV technology can be utilized. Efforts under SAVI drove the introduction of the RFI. LTA will study the ability to introduce AV vehicles as part of the mass public transportation system. The RFI will also build a case on forming a mobility system of inter-town and intra-town travel by AV. This research is essential to supporting the LTA case for AV mobility in Singapore.

“We are excited at the many possibilities of how AV technology can be harnessed…AVs have the potential to optimise road capacity by moving in a compact, systematic manner,” stated LTA’s Chief Executive Mr Chew Men Leong, “They can also provide greater connectivity for first and last mile travel and facilitate the efficient sharing of vehicles. To bring these possibilities closer to reality, we want to create an open platform in one-north, where the industry, research institutions and the authorities can jointly conduct Proof-of-Concept (POC) trials, to provide the basis for future deployment in other sites.”

The submission of RFI proposals will be due to LTA by the third quarter of the year. Mobility concepts will be tested at the AV test-bed in one-north. Master planner and developer JTC corporation created a test-bed consisting of a 6 km long network of roads in the district.

Applicants are required to conduct a demonstration test before an on-road trial can be conducted. LTA will work with the applicants and relevant agencies to facilitate safe conduct of the trials.

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