It seems as though Singapore is going on a full scale innovation spree – earlier last week, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and also the Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Programme Office, Minister Vivian Balakrishnan shared that Singapore is looking into the adoption of driverless minibuses to ferry commuters from MRT stations to their homes.
In a recent Internet Of Things (IOT) Asia Show, Minister Vivian said that what “we’re really looking at is autonomous minibuses, autonomous vehicles that close that final gap, which will be available on demand, and it will literally bring you to the doorstep of your house or from the doorstep of your house to the train station or bus interchange”.
“People hear about Google cars and the rest of it. Actually from our perspective, the real killer app for autonomous vehicles is not the driverless car – as interesting as that may be – but really to solve the challenge of the last 500 meters, meaning from the MRT station to your doorstep”.
According to the Minister, the pilot programme of this last mile driverless minibuses will starting off in One-North, an area which is also known as one of the most concentrated innovation hub in Singapore with innovation clusters such as Blk71, Blk73 and many more.
While there are no concrete details on the driverless minibuses yet, Minister Vivian shared that trials could start “in the next one to two years”.
On top of that, Minister Vivian also revealed that the Singapore’s Land Transport Authority has “installed sensors in every bus and every taxi in Singapore, allowing LTA to have real time location of every bus and taxi in Singapore. Because of the usage of data, Singapore has seen an astounding 92% reduction in the number of bus services with crowding issues, despite a year on year increase in ridership.
“This is an example of just trying to improve people’s daily lives using data science, using data rather than opinion or political polling,” shared Minister Vivian.
The minister who is also in charge of the smart nation programme shared that technology will guide the future of a country, not politics.
“It is the advancements of technology which lead in turn to economic development, and then the way that the economy unfolds affects political outcomes in countries.”