TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Driverless shuttle kicks off trial in Sentosa

Visitors and staff will be able to hail driverless shuttles in 2019 using their phones.

The public can experience autonomous shuttles to navigate them around Sentosa by 2019, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) announced. The trial has commenced along a 1 km stretch of service road at Tanjong Beach which will be extended to link Palawan and Siloso beach via a 2 km route by the end of 2018. 

“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,” secretary for transport and Committee on Autonomous Road Transport for Singapore chairman Loh Ngai Seng commented. 

The driverless shuttles are being developed by ST Engineering’s Land Systems, in partnership with the Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) and MOT. During the three-month public trial in 2019, visitors and staff in Sentosa can ride the two units of 22-seater mini-bus and the smaller 15-seater shuttle.

“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,” ST Engineering Land Systems president Dr. Lee Shiang Long said.

ST Engineering used technologies such as radar, lidars, GPS, odometry, and computer vision for the innovation of the 6.8-metre electric bus that can navigate without a driver and can sense its environment,

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

The shuttles also feature ST Engineering’s platform agnostic Autonomous 2 Vehicle Management System, which analyses passenger demand and optimises route management for such ride-sharing services

People in Sentosa can hail the autonomous on-demand shuttles through their smartphones or at kiosks. The fully enclosed and air-conditioned automobiles will go along a 5km route in Sentosa.

“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 unique leisure experiences,” the announcement said.

Signboards have been installed along the test routes to inform the public of the trials. There will also be electronic signages. In addition, all autonomous shuttles will bear electronic signages to declare that they are operating autonomously, for easy recognition by road users and pedestrians.

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