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Singapore Launches it’s First Driverless Rapid Bus Transit System

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Singapore ahead of many other countries has taken the lead to launch their first driveless rapid bus transit system in Jurong West. The Driveless could start plying roads in Jurong West as early as 2018 as stated and confirmed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA)  and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

These two bodies inked an agreement for the first autonomous bus trial on Wednesday 19 October 2016, continuing Singapore’s bid to take the lead in Self-Driving Technology.

The Driveless Rapid Bus System  is being developed by the Energy Research Institute at NTU.  After they are also required to test these driverless buses in between routes and also designated sections in Jurong West. The buses will start running on routes around NTU and Clean Tech Park in 2018 and these tests will be extended to Pioneer MRT Stations the following year all around the country.

The agreement comes more than a year after the authorities issued a Request for Information for proposals on Autonomous Vehicle Technology, and amid ongoing trials involving cars.

“Current efforts worldwide have been focused on cars, so this autonomous bus trial is the first of its kind in Singapore that will aim to improve road safety, reduce vehicle congestion, alleviate pollution and address manpower challenges,” said Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU Chief of Staff and Vice-President (research).

The agreement for the Driveless business System was signed at a 3-day Singapore International Transport Congress and Exhibition.

The Driveless buses are supposed to undergo a four-year trial and testing regime and this will include refinement of sensor technology which is currently being used on Electric shuttles plying routes around the NTU Campus and CleanTech Park in the Jurong Innovation District.

Features and Specifications of the Driveless Buses

  • Length: 12m-long electric hybrid buses
  • Passenger Capacity : 50 passengers each
  • Speeds: 40kmh will arrive on the NTU campus, and will be fitted with intelligent sensors and charging technology, as well as an autonomous system to navigate in local traffic and climate conditions.

These buses can power up on the go, taking another 30 seconds to recharge at bus depots or bus stops along their route.

With Singapore taken the lead other countries with hopes of such a system can use their efforts as a test case.  The Ghana BRT system can take a cue from this.

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