Driverless shuttle bus to start passenger trial at NUS Kent Ridge campus

Driverless shuttle bus to start passenger trial at NUS Kent Ridge campus

The NUSmart Shuttle, a self-driving shuttle bus, will begin taking passengers on Tuesday (Jul 30) in a year-long trial after undergoing road tests for one-and-a-half months. Elizabeth Neo with more.

SINGAPORE: The NUSmart Shuttle, a self-driving shuttle bus, will begin taking passengers on Tuesday (Jul 30) in a year-long trial after undergoing road tests for one-and-a-half months.

This was announced in a joint media release by operator ComfortDelGro, Inchcape Singapore, EasyMile and the National University of Singapore (NUS) on Monday.

NUSmart shuttle launch on Jul 29, 2019
The trial was launched by (from left) ComfortDelGro Group CEO Yang Ban Seng, Inchcape Singapore managing director Jasmmine Wong, ComfortDelGro chairman Lim Jit Poh, Ambassador of France to Singapore Marc Abensour, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye and EasyMile COO Benoit Perrin, on Jul 29, 2019. (Photo: ComfortDelGro)

The shuttle bus, which can carry up to 12 people, will service NUS' Kent Ridge campus. It can accommodate a wheelchair and features an in-built access ramp.

The service will be free for all commuters, the release said. During the trial, an operator will be on board to provide information and ensure safe operation of the vehicle.

READ: ComfortDelGro to trial driverless shuttle bus at NUS

The service will start from the innovation 4.0 building and will travel between Heng Mui Keng Terrace and Business Link, with stops opposite the Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library and the BIZ 2 building.

During the initial phase, the shuttle service will operate on weekdays between 10.20am and 11.20am, as well as between 2.20pm and 3.20pm, at 20-minute intervals. The operating hours will be progressively extended during the trial.

However, the shuttle will not operate in rainy weather for now.

"During the initial phase of the trial, the shuttle will not operate when it rains to enable the vehicle to calibrate its internal systems. A wet weather service may be available at a later stage," said the press release.

In a statement, ComfortDelGro Managing Director and Group CEO Yang Ban Seng said the trial provides an opportunity to observe passenger reaction to autonomous vehicles. 

“The operational experience gained will also be invaluable as we prepare for a future where autonomous and artificial intelligence becomes an integral part of our daily commute,” he added.

NUS senior vice president for campus infrastructure, Professor Yong Kwet Yew said autonomous vehicles have “great potential as a promising mobility solution”.

“The knowledge and experience gained from this trial will bring us closer to the day when autonomous vehicles become a common safe mode of transport, and with citizens who are comfortable with embracing new technologies, we can then further entrench Singapore’s standing as a smart nation.”

The shuttle, announced in May, follows a predefined route and is equipped with sensors to detect and avoid potential obstacles.

Source: CNA/ga(hm)

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