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ST Engineering to deploy autonomous buses, driverless shuttles

Singapore Business Review logo Singapore Business Review 10/4/2017 Staff Reporter
ST Engineering to deploy autonomous buses, driverless shuttles © Provided by Singapore Business Review ST Engineering to deploy autonomous buses, driverless shuttles

It will deploy self-driving vehicles in 2019.

ST Engineering announced several initiatives to advance Singapore's Smart Mobility 2030 vision of a smart transportation network and strengthen its leadership in the development of autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies.

For starters, the group's ST Kinetics revealed that it will conduct AV trials in partnership with Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) for autonomous buses. These buses are powered by ST Kinetics' AV technology and integrated with various diagnostics, cybersecurity, and localisation technologies from its consortium partners. They will navigate Singapore's urban mixed traffic conditions, as well as operate under normal and adverse weather conditions.

The 40-seater autonomous buses, measuring 12 metres long with maximum speeds of 60km/h, will be developed over 42 months in three phases. In 2020, the buses will be validated on fixed and scheduled routes based on selected feeder and trunk bus services. ST Kinetics' autonomous buses will be amongst the first in Singapore to operate on public roads.

Meanwhile, ST Engineering also announced the development of four Mobility-on-Demand-Vehicles (MODV). It will be working together with Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) and the Ministry of Transport (MOT) to deploy the vehicles for trials in Sentosa. This follows the completion of a front-end engineering study, which started in July 2016, on technical requirements such as the feasibility of routes for autonomous vehicles to navigate seamlessly around Sentosa.

In early 2019, the four MODV, each with seating capacities ranging from 15 to 20 passengers, will be deployed in a pilot public trial to provide autonomous mobility-on-demand service to visitors in Sentosa.

Permanent Secretary for Transport and CARTS chairperson Pang Kin Keong said the autonomous mobility-on-demand trial in Sentosa and the autonomous bus trial with ST Kinetics are further major steps in the plan to leverage the technology to improve urban mobility in Singapore.

"We will progressively launch more trials, including in other parts of Singapore, with the aim of eventually deploying such mobility concepts as part and parcel of our transport system. I am also pleased to see the formation of the Singapore Autonomous Vehicles Consortium. It will be another significant piece of the eco-system which we are building to grow the AV industry in Singapore," he said.

ST Engineering president and CEO Vincent Chong said the development of these AV technologies will draw from ST Kinetics' engineering expertise in developing military robotics and systems integration capabilities using existing vehicle platforms, sensors, and computers to effectively deploy autonomous, commuter-friendly, mass transport modes for intra-town and first-last mile travel.

Meanwhile the Singapore Autonomous Vehicles Consortium was launched to facilitate and strengthen collaboration between industry partners and institutes of higher learning (IHL) to develop AV standards as well as accelerate the application and adoption of AV technologies in Singapore.

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