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Singapore wants to start testing self-driving buses on its roads

Whether it’s implementing nation-wide Internet of Things systems, or testing out drone-based deliveries for its postal service, Singapore has proven time and time again that it’s not afraid to embrace emerging technologies. Not even its public transportation is safe from that technological embrace, as Singapore has announced that it’s going to start testing self-driving buses on public roads next year. As a city-state with extremely limited land, the importance of public transit can’t be overstated, so it’s obvious why Singapore would want to make it safer and more efficient. 

Singaporeans may start to spot driverless buses on their roads from the middle of next year, the government announced Monday. “In time to come, we … wish to have self-driving buses operating on fixed routes and scheduled timings to reduce the heavy reliance on manpower,” it said in a Facebook post. The government has designated a 6 km stretch of road at the one-north business park for trials, and has appointed several government agencies to carry them out. “We have granted approval to the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) to carry out self-driving technology testing there,” it said. In June, the government called for proposals from companies to help plan out how self-driving vehicles could operate. It received eight submissions from local and international firms, and will translate the “most promising” ones for the trial. Singapore has dipped its toe in some limited testing of self-driving vehicles. In September, SMART said it was testing autonomous golf carts that can be summoned by an app.

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