SINGAPORE: From next year, there will be another option to get around in Sentosa - autonomous shuttles.
Visitors and staff can hail them via smartphones or at kiosks along a 5km route on the island when they are put on a three-month trial in 2019, said the Ministry of Transport (MOT), Sentosa Development and ST Engineering in a joint-release on Tuesday (Jun 5).
Before the public trial begins, the shuttles will be tested along a 1km stretch of the service road at Tanjong Beach to iron out their operational systems and safety protocols from Tuesday. This will be progressively extended to a 2km route linking Palawan and Siloso beaches by the end of the year, the release said.
The system is being developed by the Land Systems arm of ST Engineering, in partnership with MOT and Sentosa.
The trial will utilise four autonomous vehicles: a pair of 22-seater mini-buses and two 15-seater shuttles.
It will help MOT leverage autonomous technology to "improve the public transport system in the longer term", said Mr Loh Ngai Seng, Permanent Secretary for Transport and Chairman of the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport for Singapore.
"The insights gained from this trial will allow us to better understand how the technology can be deployed to strengthen intra-town connectivity and enhance mobility for commuters, particularly the elderly and persons with disabilities," he added.
Signboards have been put up along the test routes to inform the public of the trials, said the release. Electronic signage will also be fitted on the shuttles to indicate that they are operating autonomously.