Singapore moves ahead on smart mobility - Autonomous scheduled and on-demand public transport by 2022; first AV test centre opened

Singapore moves ahead on smart mobility – Autonomous scheduled and on-demand public transport by 2022; first AV test centre opened

Above photo: Autonomous
shuttle at the new CETRAN AV Test Centre/ Credit: LTA (from LTA’s Facebook

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Land Transport Authority of
Singapore (LTA) announced today that autonomous scheduled buses and autonomous
on-demand shuttles will serve commuters in Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong
Innovation District (JID) in Singapore from 2022.

LTA will pilot the deployment of autonomous vehicles in
these districts to provide convenient first-last mile connectivity for
residents, workers and students. The pilot deployment is expected to provide
important insights into how the deployment of AVs can be scaled up across
Singapore, as well as develop new towns and refurbish existing ones to
facilitate the mass deployment of AVs.

The autonomous scheduled services will complement
human-driven public buses, and will initially travel on less crowded roads. The
autonomous on-demand services are intended to enhance first and last mile connectivity
in and around Punggol, Tengah and JID. These are expected to be particularly
useful for the elderly, families with young children and the less mobile, who
can hail the services via their mobile phones. On-demand shuttles can also be
used to serve the Seletar Aerospace Park.

In addition to intra-town bus services, LTA is also
exploring the use of autonomous buses for express transit links to connect the
North-East Line to the North-South, East-West and Thomson East Coast Lines.

Inputs sought from industry and research institutions

MOT and LTA has also launched a Request for Information
(RFI) to seek inputs from the industry and research institutions on the key
requirements and enablers needed for the successful pilot deployment of AVs.

To facilitate the preparations for the pilot deployment, RFI
respondents are invited to submit inputs on various aspects such as concepts of
operations (e.g. how the AV fleets can be optimally deployed), physical
infrastructure requirements (e.g. space requirements for depots and other
facilities) and system requirements (e.g. the fleet management system
required). The RFI will close on 31 May 2018. A briefing to industry and
research institutions will be held on 8 December 2017.

Singapore’s first AV
test centre

Singapore's first autonomous vehicle (AV) test centre was also
. The new 2-hectare test facility at JID, Singapore’s largest living lab, has been jointly developed by LTA, Nanyang
Technological University (NTU) and JTC Corporation. It supports the
Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of AVs – NTU, in spearheading
research for the safe deployment of AVs on Singapore’s roads. As there are currently no existing international test standards or international certification bodies for AVs, it is hoped that CETRAN will anchor Singapore’s position in supporting the testing and eventual widespread deployment of AVs.

Designed to replicate Singapore’s roads, the CETRAN AV Test
Centre will allow AVs to be tested under real-world environments. The new
CETRAN AV Test Centre is fully-equipped to ensure rigorous testing of the AVs'
communication and interaction with other vehicles, road infrastructure and
elements as well as dispatch and routing systems.

To monitor the progress of AV testing, a network of seven 360-degrees CCTV
cameras have also been installed to stream real-time footage back to the
AutonOmous VehicLe MonItoring and EValuation SystEm (OLIVE). Through OLIVE, LTA
will be able to integrate data from AVs and the CCTVs to evaluate the readiness
of AVs for public use. 

The test circuit also features a rain simulator and
flood zone to test the AVs’ navigation abilities under different weather
conditions. It also has pedestrian simulators for testing scenarios such as aggressive driving
and interactions with other road users, including cyclists and users of
Personal Mobility Devices.

ST Kinetics and NTU ERI@N have plans to commence their autonomous bus trials at the CETRAN AV Test Centre next year. Together with NTU, CETRAN will work closely with industry partners such as Siemens and SystemX to explore various areas of AV research. This includes exploring support infrastructure for AVs such as sensors and signalling systems, and perform independent verification of autonomous vehicles through computer simulations.

CETRAN also inked partnership agreements with four organisations during the ceremony. They are PTV Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd, a leading corporation in traffic and transportation solutions, the National Physical Laboratory, United Kingdom’s largest applied physics organisation, and NXP Semiconductors Singapore Pte Ltd, global automotive semiconductor supplier in secure connected cars, and Diamond Energy for energy management technologies for electric autonomous vehicles.

Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for
Transport, Mr. Khaw Boon Wan, officiated the opening of the CETRAN AV Test
Centre this morning, and experienced the smooth commute on board an AV.

Smart Urban Mobility
solutions part of continued Smart Nation efforts

All this is part of Singapore’s continued Smart
Nation efforts
to develop Smart Urban Mobility solutions that leverage data
and digital technologies to enhance the public transport commute.

Minister Wan, said, “AV technology can greatly enhance the
accessibility and connectivity of our public transport system, particularly for
the elderly, families with young children, and the less mobile. Through the
pilot deployment, we can gain insights into how we can design infrastructure,
organize services and formulate regulations to better facilitate the safe use
of AVs in Singapore”

“The pilot deployment will take us into the next phase of
the roadmap set out by CARTS for the deployment of AVs in Singapore, when we
begin to progressively deploy AVs as a form of public transport in our towns.
Safety and accessibility will be our top priorities,” commented Mr. Loh Ngai
Seng, Permanent Secretary for Transport and Chairman of the Committee on
Autonomous Road Transport in Singapore (CARTS).

Previously, in August
2017,  LTA called a tender to seek
proposals from the industry to trial on-demand, dynamically-routed public bus
services. In April this year, LTA signed a partnership agreement
with ST Kinetics to develop and trial autonomous buses. This was the fourth
such agreement signed, in addition to LTA’s ongoing partnerships with the
Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) to develop and trial autonomous bus
technology, as well as with Delphi and nuTonomy to conduct autonomous
mobility-on-demand trials.

Singapore’s first
Smart Mobility consortium was launched in January 2017 to test
new tech on NTU campus, bringing together 12 industry partners.