SINGAPORE, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Singapore will carry out trial for driverless public buses following the signing of a partnership agreement between the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and ST Kinetics, LTA announced on Monday.
In the longer term, it is envisaged that the trial could realize the operation of autonomous public buses in Singapore by 2020 to enhance intra-town travel.
Under the agreement, two 40-seater electric buses will be deployed and tested in various locations including the National University of Singapore (NUS) as well as Jurong Island.
LTA said the buses will use a satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) and a suite of sensors to scan and determine their location and immediate surroundings.
"The buses will also have radars and sonars that are able to detect other vehicles and pedestrians up to 200m ahead," LTA added.
In addition, ST Kinetics is also working to improve the autonomous buses' ability to navigate in heavier rain conditions, up from the current 10mm per hour to 30mm per hour.
The initial testing will be conducted during off-peak periods at an industrial area where the road infrastructure is less complex.
LTA's Chief Technology Officer Lam Wee Shann said that Singapore's need for high-capacity vehicles to address commuters' peak-hour demands presents an opportunity for companies such as ST Kinetics to develop autonomous buses.
He added that this is also in line with the whole-of-government effort to explore and apply smart technologies to improve Singaporeans' lives.
"We are excited to partner ST Kinetics to develop autonomous electric buses, that if successfully deployed, will benefit commuters and greatly change the way we travel," Lam added.