On Wednesday, Singapore’s government announced its intention to have driverless buses operating on public roads from 2022. Driverless buses are to be first launched in three towns on less crowded roads made to be suitable for the purpose. The autonomous buses are to run during off-peak times, complementing human-driven bus services.
According to the joint announcement from the Land Transport Authority and Singapore’s Ministry of Transport, commuters will be able to use their mobile phones to hail a driverless shuttle. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan remarked, “The autonomous vehicles will greatly enhance the accessibility and connectivity of our public transport system, particularly for the elderly, families with young children and the less mobile.”
Along with the announcement, a two hectare (roughly five acre) test centre has been unveiled outside Nanyang Technological University, where self-driving vehicles are to be driven in simulated Singapore traffic. The test centre is also to be used for developers of self-driving vehicles to observe how they react to pedestrians, extreme weather, aggressive drivers, and various other road conditions. At the launch, Mr Khaw also said, “Our land transport constraints may help us become a global player in urban mobility solutions. What works here is likely to also work in other cities”. He noted driverless technology testing for Singapore was underway by at least 10 companies.