Singapore is set to introduce driverless buses to three neighbourhoods by 2022. The autonomous vehicles (AVs) will provide first- and last-mile connections for commuters who live in these neighbourhoods.
The Singaporean government has already implemented policies to promote public transport, which has resulted in less traffic congestion compared to other cities in the region. It recently announced that from 2018, no more new cars will be added to its roads, extending this ban to buses by 2021. This explains why the country is striving to become a leader in driverless technologies, with at least 10 companies testing AV technology in Singapore.
Transport minister Khaw Boon Wan expects that the driverless buses "will greatly enhance the accessibility and connectivity of our public transport system, particularly for the elderly and the less mobile". He also announced that piloting AVs in these three areas would provide insights into how to plan for their future safe mass deployment, since "the biggest challenge for AVs is not the development of the technology, but how we can safely incorporate it into our living environment".
AVs are expected to be part of our everyday life in the future: by 2030, 15% of all new vehicles sold will be fully autonomous (McKinsey, 2016). For more on the latest innovations in transport, see CES 2017: Automotive and Radical Transport.