Autonomous vehicle (AVs) trials will be conducted on public roads in areas such as Bukit Timah, Clementi and Jurong as a part of the Land Transport Authority (LTA)’s bid to extend coverage of the trials to all of western Singapore.
LTA on Thu (24 Oct) confirmed that the expansion from the current geographical zones – namely Buona Vista, CleanTech Park, Jurong Island, the Nanyang Technological University, and Sentosa – to all of western Singapore will “open up more than 1,000km of public roads for companies to conduct tests”.
The extended testbed will enable AV companies “to progressively conduct on-road testing in a wider range of traffic scenarios and road conditions”, LTA added.
LTA said it will liaise with local grassroots and community leaders “ahead of time” should there be plans to conduct AV trials in their specific constituencies.
Speaking at the Autonomous Mobility Summit at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress today, Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said that the expansion is slated to take place in phases over the next several years.
Public safety will also be of utmost importance in the trials, as any mishaps or accidents may create apprehension amongst the public towards self-driving vehicles. he added.
LTA noted today that AVs cleared for trials on public roads “will continue to sport prominent decals and markings” for “easy identification by other road users”.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in his opening speech at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress expressed his optimism regarding AVs, stating that AVs have the capacity to improve urban mobility and living environments.
However, he said that “a larger-scale adoption” of such technology may not be feasible in the near future.
“New infrastructure and enablers, such as dedicated lanes and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications technology, will be important before we can scale up the use of AVs,” said Khaw.
LTA said today that such trials will be subject to its approval, and that it will enforce “a thorough safety assessment before they are approved for on-road trials”.
“All AVs must also continue to have a qualified safety driver who is ready to take over immediate control of the vehicle should the need arise. Third-party liability insurance is also mandatory,” added the Authority.
LTA added that it has been facilitating on-road AV trials since 2015 to “understand how the technology can be used to enhance Singapore’s transport system”.
“This will support the robust testing of AVs’ capabilities to provide inter-town services and longer-haul journeys in a safe manner, and pave the way for the planned pilot deployment of AVs in the early 2020s,” the Authority said.