The first commercial self-driving bus in Singapore will run trials on two lines at Singapore Science Park 2 and Jurong Island for 3 months.
|One of the self-driving commercial buses on Science Park 2. Photo: Zhaki Abdullah|
Singapore launched its commercial self-driving bus service at Singapore Science Park 2 and Jurong Island for the first time. The pilot program lasted for 3 months, collecting data to assess the feasibility as well as passenger safety, efficiency and stability of the service.
Many government agencies and organizations are involved in project development with the aim of leading and accelerating robot application in Singapore. Led by the Robot Action Alliance (AfA), the initiative is also supported by the Economic Development Board and the Trucking Authority.
The Singapore government established the Emerging Stronger Taskforce, to examine how Singapore maintains its economic resilience, exploring new areas of growth amid Covid-19 epidemic. With a new national AI strategy and a number of initiatives, the Singapore government wants to apply more AI to create economic value, providing a platform for developing and testing AI applications for the world.
The autonomous bus was developed by ST Engineering, while the navigation map program for the vehicle was from GPS Lands. Public transport company SBS Transit and SMRT operate the vehicle on the Jurong Island and Science Park 2 routes respectively.
According to the AfA, the pilot program ends April 30 and will conduct an assessment before making a next move. The two routes differ in terms of physical condition, passenger, service, vehicle type as well as operating model. For example, data from Science Park 2 helps determine if an on-demand bus service better meets the needs of residents in the area during off-peak hours. The bus runs from 10 am to 5 pm, serving travel needs from Science Park 2 to Haw Par Villa MRT station. Passengers can book self-driving bus tickets through the Zipster app. Each vehicle has a length of 7m and a capacity of 10 people.
Meanwhile, the Jurong Island line goes through 10 points, running a fixed schedule from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm weekly. The bus is 12 meters long and can accommodate 26 people. Passengers book tickets through the SWATRide app.
The AfA also partnered with labor unions to train bus drivers, who later took on new tasks such as overseeing travel experiences and managing autonomous bus systems.
Of the autonomous vehicle The test has been running on the streets of Singapore since 2015 and at Sentosa in 2019 without any accidents and served around 6,000 passengers.
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