Driverless shuttle bus to go on trial at NUS from 25 May

The NUSmart Shuttle, a driverless shuttle bus service, is set to go on trial at the NUS campus from 25 May 2019. (PHOTO: NUS)

SINGAPORE — The NUSmart Shuttle, a driverless shuttle bus service operated by ComfortDelGro, will go on trial on Saturday (25 May) at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Kent Ridge campus, as part of a year-long study to gauge its commercial viability.

The shuttle is fully electric and can carry up to 12 people. It follows a predefined route and is equipped with a full range of sensors to detect and avoid potential obstacles.

According to an NUS media release on Wednesday (22 May), it is set to be the first fully autonomous shuttle bus run by a land-transport operator in real mixed-traffic conditions – in other words, alongside regular buses, cars and motorcycles.

Road test to ‘map’ route

The shuttle will first embark on a one-and-a-half month-long road test at the campus, plying a 1.6km route between Heng Mui Keng Terrace and Business Link within the NUS campus.

The test will “map” the route through the collection of data for the vehicles’ navigation systems. To ensure the mapping is done accurately, the shuttle will be travelling at between 5kmh and 16kmh during this period.

After the mapping process, the shuttle will run a validation test for three hours daily over a four-week period, without taking passengers.

Passenger service to start in 3rd quarter 2019

Following the validation test, it is expected to commence the passenger service trial in the third quarter of this year. Throughout its service, it will have a safety operator on board to ensure safe operation of the vehicle and to provide information to passengers.

The vehicle is based on EasyMile’s autonomous technology, and is funded and imported by Inchcape Singapore.

Besides the NUS trial, the ComfortDelGro Group – through its subsidiary, SBS Transit – is participating in two ongoing trials on Sentosa and Jurong Island as well as assisting in data collection, operations modelling and development.

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