SELF-DRIVING vehicles could be running on public roads in Singapore within 10 to 15 years, says the Ministry of Transport (MOT), but not before surmounting issues such as the cost of the technology and public acceptance.
Singapore on Monday unveiled the next stage of autonomous unmanned vehicle development with various trials and partners. Under the roadmap for self-driving vehicles and mobility concepts, four tracks have been identified by the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport in Singapore (Carts) - fixed and scheduled services for mass transport within and between towns; shared services for point-to-point and first- and last-mile travel; freight, with the carriage of goods for long-distance delivery; and utility operations, such as road sweepers.
"Self-driving vehicles can radically transform land transportation in Singapore to address our two key constraints - land and manpower," says Pang Kin Keong, permanent secretary for transport and Carts chairman.
Self-driving vehicle trials are already underway in one-north, and are scheduled to begin in December at the Gardens by the Bay. Two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were also signed on Monday. The first was between MOT and PSA to jointly develop autonomous truck platooning technology for transporting cargo between port terminals, while the second was between MOT, Sentosa Development Corp and ST Engineering to trial self-driving shuttle services across Sentosa.
Mr Pang said: "The trials will help us shape the mobility concepts which can meet Singapore's needs, and also gain valuable insights into how we can design our towns of the future to take advantage of this technology."