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Singapore’s driverless vehicle ambitions reach next milestone with new national standards

The set of provisional standards, called Technical Reference 68, will promote the safe deployment of fully autonomous vehicles here.

Singapore’s driverless vehicle ambitions reach next milestone with new national standards

An EasyMile autonomous shuttle bus that will be on trial in NUS in 2019. (Photo: ComfortDelGro)

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s ambition to be at the vanguard of those deploying autonomous vehicles (AVs) got a shot in the arm on Thursday (Jan 31), after a set of provisional national standards to guide the industry was introduced.

READ: Self-driving vehicles on trial must have safety drivers, black boxes, MOT says

The standards, known as Technical Reference 68 (TR 68), will promote the safe deployment of fully driverless vehicles in Singapore, according to a joint press release by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), Land Transport Authority (LTA), Standards Development Organisation and Singapore Standards Council (SSC).

TR 68 was developed over the past year and is meant to guide the industry on the development and deployment of vehicles in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Level 4 and 5 bands. At these levels, the vehicle is fully autonomous in limited and all driving scenarios, respectively.

Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia, ESG and LTA said that TR 68 could be the first such national standard of its kind in the world.

"Currently, there are related ISO standards and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe regulations on specific topics concerning automated vehicles such as safety, cybersecurity, and messaging formats," they said.

"Based on industry feedback, this could be the first such national standard in the world," they added.

The SSC’s Manufacturing Standards Committee oversaw the development of the standards, which covers four areas: Vehicle behaviour, vehicle functional safety, cybersecurity and data formats.

Given that it is provisional in nature, TR 68 will continue to be refined as AV technology matures and with feedback from the industry, the press release said.

The introduction of the national standards was lauded by industry partners.

Mr Doug Parker, chief operating officer of Aptiv Autonomous Mobility, said the company is happy to have contributed to the standards as “it will facilitate the commercialisation of autonomous vehicles” in Singapore.

Aptiv, the spin-off entity from automotive equipment Delphi, in 2017 bought US autonomous driving start-up nuTonomy, which has an office in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Mr Tan Nai Kwan, chief robotics engineer of Singapore Technologies Engineering Land Systems’ Robotics Business Group, said TR 68 is “much welcomed”  as it provides developers like itself with clear guidelines benchmarked against international standards.

READ: Singapore relooking road rules to allow for self-driving vehicles

The Singapore Government had previously said it will introduce self-driving buses and shuttles in Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District in 2022. The Ministry of Transport had also said it is relooking how road rules can be extended to such self-driving vehicles in the future.

With additional reporting by Gwyneth Teo.

Source: CNA/kk(aj)


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