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Malaysia begins testing routes for its first autonomous vehicle

Futurise has announced that the Cyberjaya Malaysia Autonomous Vehicle (MyAV) Testing Route that was developed together with the Ministry of Transport (MOT) under the National Regulatory Sandbox (NRS) initiative for the future development of autonomous vehicle project has been approved.

The project is also supported by other relevant agencies such as Sepang Municipal Council (MPSepang), Road Transport Department Malaysia (JPJ), Land Public Transport Agency (APAD), Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) and Automotive Development Centre, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (ADC, UTM).

Futurise, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cyberview Sdn Bhd under the Ministry of Finance, that plays a role as the Public Policy Advisor to Ministries and industries, said at the end of 2019, The Guideline for The AV Trailing on Public Roads in Cyberjaya was completed and endorsed by MOT and MPSepang before work on the testing routes began.

The Guideline outlined a Safety Management Plan that includes key safety risk and mitigation procedures such as the necessary security measure, the company said.

Taking into consideration risks to other road users, a well-trained safety officer has to be in the vehicle at all times and a compulsory visual identifier is required to be used at all times during the trailing journey. All the required infrastructure for the 7km testing route was considered and put in place. This includes road signages indicating a zone for the autonomous vehicle testing to be placed at each entry point of the AV testing areas.

Commenting on the project, the Transport Ministry Secretary-General said the Government has to be a step ahead in terms of providing guidance, strong infrastructure and quick to assess new regulations needed in order to ensure that the future regulatory framework that governs transportation is robust and able to adapt quickly to accommodate new technologies and trends.

He noted that the future of autonomous vehicles is expected to be huge, penetrating even the trucking industry, vessels or other passenger-carrying vehicles like buses. A mobility system that addresses the need of the rakyat that promotes safety, inclusivity, provides strategic direction, strengthens and streamlines all regulatory framework initiatives must be provided.

Therefore, in addition, to meet these needs, the Guideline represents MOT’s commitment to supporting comprehensive R&D activities and encouraging the growth of this industry especially the expansion of local expertise on AV technologies in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Futurise’s CEO said that the next step on the agenda of the development will be planning to expand the coverage to a few key locations such as Putrajaya.

Self-driving vehicles and shared mobility could provide transportation to many people. It is key to helping people having difficulties accessing transportation. The deployment could also mean job opportunities for the disabled community.

With the opportunity to shape tomorrow’s mobility environment and ecosystem, Futurise as a public policy advisor for industry and government are looking into a future policy that will account for not only the regulatory aspects but also the job creation part of the equation.

The first company to receive the approval to use the route for the testing of their autonomous car was a local high-tech company. The start-up was founded in 2016, specialising in providing vehicle agnostic driverless software solutions for urban environments.

The company develops component-based driverless software solutions, which turns certain vehicles into autonomous vehicles which can be deployed within different applications, such as first/last-mile transportation, logistic transportation and utility solutions.

All applications to utilise the Cyberjaya MyAV testing route must be directed to Futurise as the Secretariat. The application will be considered by the MyAV Evaluation Committee which is chaired by MOT together with other members of the Committee such as MPSepang, JPJ, APAD, MIROS, MARii and Automotive Development Center Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (ADC, UTM).

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