On-road Testing of Autonomous Shuttles Begins at Sentosa
Public trial to take place in 2019
Singapore, 5 June 2018 – Visitors to Sentosa will be able to call for on-demand autonomous shuttles to bring them around the island, when the public trial for the locally-developed vehicles takes place next year.
As part of testing of operational systems and safety protocols before the trial opens to the public, testing of what will eventually be an on-demand service will commence along a 1km stretch of the service road at Tanjong Beach from today, and be progressively extended to a 2km route linking Palawan and Siloso beaches by the end of this year. The autonomous shuttles will not carry members of the public during this test phase.
In 2019, as part of a three-month public trial, visitors and staff in Sentosa will be able to hail the autonomous shuttles via their smartphones or at kiosks, along a longer 5km route. Fully enclosed and air-conditioned, the autonomous shuttles will complement Sentosa’s on-island transportation network during the public trial, providing guests with even more ways to access the island’s various unique leisure experiences.
The autonomous mobility-on-demand solution is being developed by the Land Systems arm of ST Engineering, in partnership with the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC). The public trial will involve two types of autonomous vehicles (AVs), namely, two units of a 22-seater mini-bus, as well as two units of a smaller, 15-seater shuttle.
ST Engineering has combined a variety of technologies such as radar, lidars, GPS, odometry, and computer vision, to transform a 6.8-metre electric bus into one that is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. The advanced control systems interpret fused sensory information and identify appropriate navigation paths, as well as obstacles and relevant signage. Another key feature is ST Engineering’s platform-agnostic Autonomous Vehicle Management System, which analyses passenger demand and optimises route management for such ride-sharing services.
Permanent Secretary for Transport and Chairman of the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport for Singapore Mr Loh Ngai Seng said, “The autonomous mobility-on-demand trial in Sentosa marks a key milestone in our vision to leverage autonomous technology to improve the public transport system in the longer term. 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.”
Mr Quek Swee Kuan, Chief Executive Officer, Sentosa Development Corporation, said, “Technology is a key enabler in our efforts to create great guest experiences, and the trial of autonomous mobility-on-demand vehicles in Sentosa is a fitting illustration of how we constantly collaborate with partners to explore solutions that make our visitors’ stay even more enjoyable. As we work towards the public trial of the vehicles, we look forward to not only strengthening connectivity across the island, but also offering our guests another unique experience, among the array of novel leisure activities in The State of Fun. ”
Dr Lee Shiang Long, President of ST Engineering's Land Systems sector, said, “Developing our indigenous capabilities in autonomous technologies is necessary as Singapore looks to deploy and operationalise autonomous vehicles as a mode of public transportation. ST Engineering’s AV kit is platform-agnostic, and hence can be integrated onto other transportation platforms. The outcomes of the trials will provide valuable inputs and data on the performance of the vehicle under various road conditions, and allow us to fine-tune its responses to them.”
To inform the public of the trials, signboards have been put up along the test routes. In addition, all autonomous shuttles will bear electronic signage(s) to signal that they are operating autonomously, for easy recognition by road users and pedestrians.
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Images of the autonomous shuttles
Autonomous 22-seater mini-bus
Autonomous 15-seater shuttle