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Singapur BRT Rapid Transit System
Image: picture alliance/dpa/W. Woon

Singapore tries out self-driving buses

October 19, 2016

Singapore has signed an agreement to start testing self-driving buses in a small part of the city state. The green buses in action will be electric-hybrid vehicles, with the batteries to be charged flexibly.


Singapore's newest pilot project is a collaboration between the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

The agreement between the two sides inked on Wednesday came as the city state pushed ahead with its vision of using autonomous technology to help deal with the challenges posed by its limited land and labor.

"Current efforts worldwide have been focused on autonomous cars; so this autonomous bus trial is the first of its kind in Singapore that will aim to improve road safety, reduce vehicle congestion, alleviate pollution and address manpower challenges," NTU Chief of Staff Lam Khin Yong said in a statement.

A lot more going on

The buses to be used for the trial will be electric-hybrid vehicles, which have batteries that will be charged when the opportunity arises, for instance whenever the buses stop at a depot.

The self-driving vehicles are expected to ferry commuters between the NTU compound and the nearby Pioneer MRT station.

Earlier this week, Singapore said it would also seek information from industry and research institutes on the potential use of self-driving vehicles for street cleaning and refuse collection.

In another Singapore district, self-driving cars are being tested. Authorities reported Tuesday that a driverless car collided with a truck when changing lanes. Developer nuTonomy, which started trials of the world's first robo-taxis in August, said it was investigating the accident.

hg/jd (Reuters, Straits Times)


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