Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 08/27/2014 12:12 | By Channel NewsAsia

LTA, A*STAR agree to collaborate on Autonomous Vehicle research

LTA, A*STAR agree to collaborate on Autonomous Vehicle research


LTA, A*STAR agree to collaborate on Autonomous Vehicle research

SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) on Wednesday (Aug 27) announced the Singapore Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (SAVI), in which the two agencies will work together to develop and introduce autonomous transport for Singapore's roads.

LTA and A*STAR on Wednesday signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding to set up the initiative, which will support the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport for Singapore (CARTS) in "holistically charting the strategic direction for AV-enabled land mobility concepts" in the country.

LTA will play a regulatory role in aligning AV research towards the eventual goal of implementing driverless vehicles and AV-enabled mobility concepts in the Republic's transport network. A*STAR, as the lead agency for R&D in Singapore, will develop AV technologies, formulate roadmaps and conduct R&D test-beds, according to the statement.

One of the ideas they will explore is the feasibility of having driverless vehicles, such as buses, for a mass transport service that operates on fixed routes and scheduled timings.

Another would be a new mobility system for intra-town travel using a network of customised and demand-responsive shared vehicles, which could "pave the way for towns that are less oriented towards car-based mobility", it stated.

The collaboration will also aim to prepare technical and statutory requirements for the mass adoption of driverless vehicles in Singapore, and explore applications that can enhance traffic management, the statement noted.

ONE-NORTH FIRST AV TESTING GROUND

In addition to the LTA-A*STAR collaboration, the transport agency will also work with JTC to allow driverless vehicles to be tested on Singapore's roads. For a start, one-north will be the first public road network to test driverless vehicles, and this will take place from Jan 1, 2015.

JTC, as the master planner and developer of one-north, will provide test routes connecting Biopolis, Fusionopolis and Mediapolis that will comprise light and heavy traffic routes. "The network of roads will allow real traffic conditions to test the AV's navigation controls."

The first phase of the trial will be for a year, and will be reviewed after. To ensure safety of all road users, LTA and JTC will review each test route to ensure necessary measures are in place before the proposal is approved for actual testing.

For instance, companies testing their vehicles must have comprehensive safety procedures including immediate manual overwrite to take full control of the vehicle at any point in time. The participating companies would also need to ensure that the test vehicle has the necessary comprehensive third party insurance, according to the statement.

There are already several ongoing AV projects in Singapore. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS), is testing a fleet of autonomous golf buggies as a car-sharing concept, as well as a driverless car within the compound.

Another project is taking place at the Nanyang Technological University, where a driverless shuttle that can seat up to 10 people is being tested, according to the statement. - CNA/kk

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