When the NUSmart Shuttle took to the roads of Kent Ridge with passengers onboard on 29 July, it became the first autonomous shuttle bus to operate in real mixed traffic conditions alongside regular buses, cars and motorcycles. In line with NUS’ ongoing efforts to build a smart, safe and sustainable campus, the free service is part of a year-long trial aimed at studying the commercial viability of providing safe autonomous shuttle bus services.
From the innovation 4.0 building, the NUSmart Shuttle will take riders on a pre-defined 1.6-km route between Heng Mui Keng Terrace and Business Link, making stops opposite the Hon Sui Sen Memorial Library and BIZ 2 building. The ComfortDelGro-operated service will run on weekdays for limited hours that will be extended progressively.
The vehicle is an EasyMile EZ10 autonomous shuttle, which runs entirely on electricity and carries up to 12 people. It can accommodate a wheelchair and has an in-built access ramp for mobility challenged passengers. A full range of sensors and an internal array of software and hardware technologies enable it to navigate on the roads, and detect and avoid potential obstacles. During the trial, a Safety Operator will be on board to address enquiries from commuters and to ensure the shuttle’s safe operation.
NUS Senior Vice President (Campus Infrastructure) Professor Yong Kwet Yew said the University welcomes the opportunity to test the driverless shuttle as a promising mobility solution on campus. “The knowledge and experience gained from this trial will bring us closer to the day when autonomous vehicles become a common safe mode of transport, and with citizens who are comfortable with embracing new technologies, we can then further entrench Singapore’s standing as a smart nation,” he explained.
See press release.