SINGAPORE: Visitors to Sentosa will be able to get around the island for free on on-demand driverless shuttle buses from next Monday (Aug 26), after a trial of the service was launched on Tuesday following more than a year of testing.
The autonomous vehicles - comprising two minibuses and two smaller shuttles - will ply popular destinations along a 5.7km route, including Siloso Point, Beach Station, Palawan Beach, Tanjong Beach and Sentosa Golf Club.
Passengers will be able to hail an autonomous shuttle via the “Ride Now Sentosa” mobile app or kiosks along the 5.7km route, said the Ministry of Transport (MOT), Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) and ST Engineering in a joint release on Tuesday.
The service will operate for four hours on weekdays, from 10am to 12pm and from 2pm to 4pm.
The shuttle buses will not be available during weekends and public holidays.
‘PUBLIC SAFETY IS OUR TOP PRIORITY’
While the vehicles are autonomous, a safety driver - who is trained to take over immediate control of the vehicle should the need arise - will be on board each of the four shuttles.
Each shuttle also has a vehicle fault system that will immediately alert the safety driver of any faults, and cede control of the vehicle to him.
“In addition, all the autonomous vehicles will display electronic signages to signal that they are operating autonomously, for easy recognition by road users and pedestrians,” the release said.
The vehicles come equipped with various technologies to help them sense their environment and identify appropriate navigation paths, obstacles and signages, the joint release said.
This helps them navigate traffic as well as handle a range of complex environments, such as roundabouts, the release said.
FUTURE OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM
Permanent Secretary for Transport and chairman of the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport for Singapore, Mr Loh Ngai Seng, said that autonomous vehicle technology has the potential to transform Singapore's public transport system and the way its people move around in the future.
"This trial will provide important insights into commuter experience and the interaction of autonomous vehicles with other road users, as we seek to enhance urban mobility by deploying autonomous vehicle technology safely in our towns," he said.
The trial will end on Nov 15.