LTA To Launch Autonomous Mobility On Demand Trials
01 Aug 2016
What if you could summon a self-driving shuttle that sends you right to your doorstep after you exit from an MRT station? Or a self-driving pod that brings you to nearby amenities with just a few taps on your smartphone?
This is the Government’s vision of a car-lite future, where existing public transport will be complemented by a new system of shared mobility-on-demand services powered by fleets of self-driving vehicles (SDVs). This will provide even more comfort and convenience for commuters, especially for first-and-last-mile and intra-town travel.
To achieve this vision, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) signed separate partnership agreements with Delphi Automotive Systems and nuTonomy today to test their shared, on-demand, door-to-door, first-and-last-mile and intra-town self-driving transportation concepts in the one-north test-bed.
Delphi and nuTonomy were shortlisted from several participants which submitted proposals for autonomous mobility-on-demand concepts under the Request for Information (RFI) issued by LTA in June last year. (Besides mobility-on-demand services, LTA is also exploring SDVs for other public transport applications, such as self-driving buses.)
LTA’s collaboration with Delphi and nuTonomy comes under the Singapore Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (SAVI), which oversees and manages AV research, test-bedding, and the development of applications and solutions by industry partners and stakeholders.
The autonomous mobility-on-demand services which nuTonomy and Delphi will develop and test are envisaged to comprise a fleet of SDVs. If these trials prove successful, the projects would be developed into full-scale mobility solutions for towns in Singapore. Commuters will then have access to an even wider range of public transport options, especially for first-and-last-mile travel, thereby further reducing the reasons to move around in a private car. Commuters will be able to summon autonomous shuttles or pods using their smartphones, and the shuttles or pods will bring them in air-conditioned comfort from point to point, for example, from their doorsteps to the train stations. This provides a more comfortable option for first-and-last-mile connectivity. It will also bring greater mobility to the elderly and other commuters who may have difficulties in taking present-day public transport such as buses.
Said LTA’s Chief Executive Mr Chew Men Leong: “LTA has been facilitating self-driving vehicle trials with single-vehicle prototypes in one-north since 2014. We are excited about the role that fleets of shared SDVs can play in our transport system and are pleased to collaborate with Delphi Automotive Systems and nuTonomy to test and develop meaningful point-to-point mobility solutions that would benefit commuters. If successful, we will be able to deploy these services in various towns to serve commuters, bringing us another step closer to achieving our car-lite vision.”
Delphi: International Tier 1 Supplier of Vehicle Technology
Delphi Automotive Systems, a tier 1 supplier of vehicle technology headquartered in the UK, has been testing its self-driving technology in the United States, where their Audi SQ5 prototype completed a coast-to-coast drive from San Francisco to New York in 99 per cent autonomous mode last year. As part of their proposal, Delphi aims to trial and operationalise a fleet of five shared SDVs for first-and-last-mile travel, with the potential to scale up the technology for self-driving shuttle services to serve an entire town. Having already a manufacturing facility in Singapore for vehicle safety technologies, Delphi’s deepened presence here, in the self-driving technology arena, creates new opportunities for engineering talents in Singapore to work on cutting-edge technology for automated vehicle systems.
“We are honoured to partner with LTA on advancing innovative mobility systems, which put Singapore at the forefront of the move to self-driving vehicles,” said Mr Kevin Clark, President and Chief Executive Officer of Delphi Automotive Systems. “This is a great recognition of what we have accomplished in bringing advanced driver assistance systems to the market today, and how Delphi is leading the way to fully automated vehicle and mobility solutions for our customers in the future.”
nuTonomy: Fast-Growing SDV Technology Start-Up
nuTonomy, a fast-growing Singapore-based company founded in 2013 by Drs Karl Iagnemma and Emilio Frazzoli, has been conducting on-road testing with its Mitsubishi i-MiEV in one-north. nuTonomy is currently working to launch an autonomous mobility-on-demand service with a fleet of vehicles in Singapore in 2018, whereby commuters will be able to summon a vehicle through a smartphone application to bring them from their doorsteps to their selected destinations. nuTonomy’s trial programme in one-north will enable the company to gather insights on and improve commuter experience of SDVs, and expand its SDV fleet progressively in preparation for the launch of their commercial service.
Said nuTonomy CEO Karl Iagnemma, “nuTonomy is honoured to partner with LTA and we applaud the Singaporean government for its forward thinking and planning. We are committed to Singapore, as demonstrated by the growing team we have here as well as our beta testing program in one-north. This innovative collaboration with LTA will accelerate the pace of change we are bringing to the fundamentals of human transportation by enhancing our ability to deploy a fleet of self-driving vehicles to serve the people of Singapore.”
Press release issued by Land Transport Authority