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Singapore launches first on-demand public trial of autonomous shuttles

The service will run along a 5.7km route to selected destinations on Sentosa and will provide important insight about how the shuttles will interact with other road users.

The trial will run along a 5.7km route on Singapore's Sentosa island resort
The trial will run along a 5.7km route on Singapore's Sentosa island resort

Singapore has launched its first on-demand autonomous shuttle public trial at Sentosa. On-road testing of the shuttles began in June 2018 and the public trial will run from 26 August to 15 November.


Developed by the Land Systems arm of ST Engineering, in partnership with the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC), four autonomous vehicles (AVs), comprising two minibuses and two smaller shuttles, will be deployed for the trial.


Hail a shuttle


Members of public visiting the island resort of Sentosa will be able to hail an autonomous shuttle via the Ride Now Sentosa mobile app or at kiosks along a 5.7km route to bring them to selected destinations on the island, such as Siloso Point, Beach Station, Palawan Beach, Tanjong Beach and Sentosa Golf Club.


Shuttles will have a safety driver who is trained to take over immediate control of the vehicle should the need arise. The safety driver is further supported by a vehicle fault system that will immediately alert the safety driver of any faults and cede control of the AV to the safety driver.


In addition, all the AVs will display electronic signages to signal that they are operating autonomously, for easy recognition by road users and pedestrians.

“This trial will provide important insights into commuter experience and the interaction of AVs with other road users”

The trial service is supported by ST Engineering’s autonomous vehicle management system, which analyses passenger demand and optimises route management for ride-sharing.


The AVs come equipped with various technologies such as radar, lidar (light detection and ranging), GPS (global positioning system), odometry and computer vision, to help them sense their environment and identify appropriate navigation paths, obstacles and signages. This enables the AVs to navigate mixed traffic environments as well as handle a range of complex environments, such as roundabouts.


Each trial AV has undergone a rigorous safety assessment jointly administered by the Land Transport Authority, the Traffic Police and the Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of AVs-NTU (CETRAN) to demonstrate its ability to handle basic manoeuvres and stop safely upon detecting an obstacle.


“Autonomous vehicle (AV) technology has the potential to transform our public transport system and the way we move around in the future,” said permanent secretary for transport and chairman of the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport for Singapore, Loh Ngai Seng.


“This trial will provide important insights into commuter experience and the interaction of AVs with other road users, as we seek to enhance urban mobility by deploying AV technology safely in our towns.”


Provided free of charge, the service will operate four hours on weekdays (excluding public holidays) from 10am to 12 noon, and from 2pm to 4pm.


Quek Swee Kuan, chief executive officer, Sentosa Development Corporation said: "The trial of on-demand autonomous shuttles reflects SDC’s commitment to creating great experiences, and is part of our multi-pronged effort to explore solutions that enhance the accessibility of our diverse leisure experiences.


“As we embark on Sentosa’s next phase of development, we will continue to collaborate with various partners to test-bed new and innovative ideas, so as to strengthen our appeal as a world-class holiday destination for both locals and tourists.”


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