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Self-driving shuttle trials at Sentosa a step forward for intra-town mobility

More than just a fun island getaway, Sentosa will soon be a destination that leads the way for demand-responsive point-to-point shuttle services using self-driving vehicles. Guests visiting Sentosa can expect to travel around the island using the self-driving shuttles in as early as a couple of years’ time. The shuttle service can simply be called from their smartphones or via information kiosks located across the island.

Complementing Sentosa’s on-island bus, tram and monorail network, the fleet of 10 self-driving shuttles will be deployed in a two-year trial aimed at improving connectivity and accessibility for visitors, hotel guests and staff, while generating potential cost savings through reduced manpower requirements.

The Ministry of Transport (MOT), Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) and Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) today to conduct tests for a point-to-point mobility-on-demand transportation in Sentosa. The entire study is expected to be completed in two years, beginning from January 2016. A front-end engineering study will be conducted to determine the technical requirements for self-driving shuttles to navigate seamlessly around the Island. Public usage of the unique shuttles in Sentosa could take place after 2018; and the project includes an evaluation for post-trial deployment of a self-driving shuttle system for Singapore.

A joint project committee comprising representatives from MOT, SDC, ST Engineering, and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will ensure that the project is conducted with safety as the utmost priority.  The public-private partnership will work on facets such as vehicle intelligence, communications platform and operations sustainability.

Permanent Secretary for Transport Mr Pang Kin Keong, who is Chairman of the Committee for Autonomous Road Transport in Singapore (CARTS), said, “Sentosa offers a unique testbed for the deployment of self-driving shuttles, as it presents the real-world challenges of a mixed-use transport system within the confines of a closed environment. The trials at Sentosa will enable us to deploy a fleet of self-driving shuttles in real time and on demand, to serve commuters’ needs for intra-island travel, thus complementing the ongoing AV trials at one-north. We are confident that the insights gained from this trial will enable us to better understand not only the technical and infrastructural features that need to be put in place, but more importantly the kind of commuter behaviour and mindsets that will be instrumental in the successful deployment of autonomous vehicle technology for intra-town mobility in other areas of Singapore, such as HDB towns.”

Deputy CEO, SDC, Low Tien Sio said, “With close to 20 million guests visiting Sentosa annually, enhancing mobility and accessibility on the island resort has always been a key priority for SDC. We are constantly seeking ways to make it easier for our guests to move around and enjoy the diverse leisure offerings that are available to them on the island. Some of these efforts include the new cable car line on Sentosa which was launched earlier this year, as well as the covered walkways and bicycle tracks that are currently being built. Testing the self-driving shuttles on the island augments these efforts, and is consistent with our commitment to make Sentosa a ‘smart’ and ‘sustainable’ leisure destination where guests can have the best experience and time possible having fun with their friends and family”.

President & CEO (Designate) of ST Engineering, Mr Vincent Chong said, “ST Engineering looks forward to contributing our deep experience in the development of robotics solutions to the self-driving shuttle trial in Sentosa.  We are committed to applying our engineering expertise to integrate complex technologies so that the self-driving shuttle system can be a safe, reliable and comfortable experience for all users in Sentosa.” 

For media queries, please contact:
Gladys Pang (Ms)
Assistant Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Transport
Tel: 6736 5044

Azreen Noor (Ms)
Senior Manager, Communications
Sentosa Development Corporation
Tel: 6279 1120

Letticia Fong (Ms)
Manager, Corporate Communications
ST Engineering
Tel: 6722 1881