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Singapore starts on-road testing for autonomous shuttles at Sentosa

As announced
by the Ministry of Transport (MOT), ST
Engineering Land Systems
, and Sentosa Development Corporation
(SDC), Singapore will be launching a public trial for locally-developed
on-demand autonomous shuttles at Sentosa next year.

“The autonomous mobility-on-demand trial in Sentosa marks a
key milestone in our vision to leverage autonomous technology to improve the
public transport system in the longer term. The insights gained from this trial
will allow us to better understand how the technology can be deployed to
strengthen intra-town connectivity and enhance mobility for commuters,
particularly the elderly and persons with disabilities,” said Mr Loh Ngai Seng,
Permanent Secretary for Transport and Chairman of the Committee on Autonomous
Road Transport for Singapore.

Before the public trial, part of the testing of operational
systems and safety protocols has commenced on 5 June along a 1km stretch of the
service road at Tanjong Beach and will be progressively extended to a 2km route
linking Palawan and Siloso beaches by the end of this year. The autonomous
shuttles will not carry members of the public during this test phase.

In 2019, as part of a three-month public trial, visitors and
staff in Sentosa will be able to hail the autonomous shuttles via their
smartphones or at kiosks, along a longer 5km route. The public trial will
involve two types of autonomous vehicles, namely, two units of a 22-seater
mini-bus and two units of a smaller 15-seater shuttle.

To inform the public of the trials, signboards have been put
up along the test routes. In addition, all autonomous shuttles will bear
electronic signages to signal that they are operating autonomously, for easy
recognition by road users and pedestrians.

The autonomous mobility-on-demand solution is developed by
the Land Systems arm of ST Engineering, in partnership with MOT and SDC. ST
Engineering has combined a variety of technologies such as radar, lidars, GPS,
odometry, and computer vision, to transform a 6.8-metre electric bus into one
that is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input.

“Developing our indigenous capabilities in autonomous
technologies is necessary as Singapore looks to deploy and operationalise
autonomous vehicles as a mode of public transportation. ST Engineering’s AV kit
is platform-agnostic, and hence can be integrated onto other transportation
platforms. The outcomes of the trials will provide valuable inputs and data on
the performance of the vehicle under various road conditions, and allow us to
fine-tune its responses to them,” said Dr Lee Shiang Long, President of ST
Engineering Land Systems.

The advanced control systems interpret fused sensory
information and identify appropriate navigation paths, as well as obstacles and
relevant signage.

Another key feature is ST Engineering’s platform-agnostic
Autonomous Vehicle Management System, which analyses passenger demand and
optimises route management for such ride-sharing services.

Fully enclosed and air-conditioned, the autonomous shuttles
will complement Sentosa’s on-island transportation network during the public
trial, providing guests with even more ways to access the island’s various facilities.

“Technology is a key enabler in our efforts to create great
guest experiences, and the trial of autonomous mobility-on-demand vehicles in
Sentosa is a fitting illustration of how we constantly collaborate with
partners to explore solutions that make our visitors’ stay even more enjoyable.
As we work towards the public trial of the vehicles, we look forward to not
only strengthening connectivity across the island, but also offering our guests
another unique experience, among the array of novel leisure activities in the
State of Fun,” said Mr Quek Swee Kuan, Chief Executive Officer of Sentosa
Development Corporation.

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