Whole of western Singapore to become trial area for autonomous vehicles

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
A safety driver sits in a moving on-demand autonomous shuttle bus during the official launch of a public trial run at Sentosa island resort in Singapore on August 20, 2019. - Singapore will next week begin a public trial of driverless buses that can be booked with an app, part of ambitions to roll out autonomous vehicles across the city-state. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A safety driver sits in a moving on-demand autonomous shuttle bus during the official launch of a public trial run at Sentosa island resort in Singapore on 20 August 20 2019. (PHOTO: Roslan RAHMAN/AFP)

SINGAPORE — The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will open up more than 1,000 kilometres of public roads for the testing of autonomous vehicles (AV), as the on-road trial expands to the whole of western Singapore.

In a media statement on Thursday (24 October), LTA said that the expanded testbed, from current sites such as Buona Vista, CleanTech Park, Jurong Island, Nanyang Technological University and Sentosa, will enable on-road testing in a wider range of traffic scenarios and road conditions

“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,” said an LTA spokesperson.

The move was in response to industry feedback that a more varied testing environment will help accelerate technology development. On-road AV trials have been conducted in the Republic since 2015.

A map of the expanded trial area in western Singapore for autonomous vehicles. (INFOGRAPHIC: Land Transport Agency)
A map of the expanded trial area in western Singapore for autonomous vehicles. (INFOGRAPHIC: Land Transport Agency)

LTA stressed that the trial expansion would take place over the next few years in “a small-scale, incremental manner”, subject to the agency’s approval. “As is the case today, any new trials will begin in a limited manner within a small area. Any further expansions in trials will only be permitted after the AVs pass stringent tests designed to demonstrate a higher level of competency,” said the spokesperson.

All AVs will continue to undergo a thorough safety assessment before they are approved for on-road trials. They must also continue to have a qualified safety driver who is ready to take over immediate control of the vehicle should the need arise, while third-party liability insurance is mandatory.

For easy identification by other road users, all test vehicles will continue to sport prominent decals and markings.

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