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First commercial autonomous bus services hit Singapore roads

ZDNET
Eileen Yu
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Commercial autonomous bus services have been rolled out for the first time in Singapore, running two routes at Singapore Science Park 2 and Jurong Island. They will operate during a three-month trial during which data will be collected to assess the viability of the on-demand service as well as passenger safety and service reliability and efficiency.

Development of the project involved multiple organisations and government agencies, with the aim being to drive and accelerate sustainable deployment of robotics in the country. Led collectively under the Alliance for Action (AfA) on Robotics, the initiative also was facilitated by the Economic Development Board and Land Transport Authority.

The AfA itself was brought together by the Emerging Stronger Taskforce, established by the government to review how Singapore could stay economically resilient and tap new areas of growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The autonomous buses deployed in the trial were developed by ST Engineering, while the mapping programme used to guide the vehicles was built by GPS Lands. Public transport companies SBS Transit and SMRT will operate the service routes in Jurong Island and Science Park 2, respectively.

The Jurong Island route, covering 10 stops, will run on a fixed schedule from 1130am to 2.30pm on weekdays to cater to lunchtime commute. Serviced by a 12m-long bus with seating capacity of 26, this route aims to offer workers easier access to amenities at Oasis@SAKRA. Passengers here would have to use the SWATRide app, developed by SWAT Mobility, to pay for their rides.