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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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Green light for test run of driverless cars in Singapore

Automated software controlling connectivity

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SINGAPORE – Taking the driverless transport model a step ahead, Singapore has asked Delphi Automobiles to start trials of self-driven cars starting next year.

Glen DeVos, vice president of engineering at Delphi explained, “It allows us to demonstrate that we have the complete ecosystem, knowledge and capability, the vehicle, the sensors, the automated software controlling connectivity to the cloud, the management of the fleet, the data and analytics on how the vehicle is performing.”

The company which specialises in automated driving technology will phase out cars with drivers initially then slowly work to run cars without steering wheels.

Singapore Land Transit Authority has promised the company assistance with infrastructure and in developing the cars which will be ready to run, starting next year.

The trial run is expected to help understand the feasibility of operating driverless cars in congested traffic. The fleet will operate alongside cars, trucks, motorcycles on the island city’s roads.

Users will be able to hail the services of these cars online like they do now with online cab companies like Uber. Delphi’s cloud-based service is expected to facilitate the “mobility-on demand” service to users. They can board and exit the car at any point on the three fixed routes spanning 8 kilometers in length.

Rates are also expected to be lower than normal cabs promoting use of public transit systems among commuters.

Equipped with high-resolution map depicting landmarks, signs and attendant lanes, the car will be programmed to park on the side in case of any malfunction.

Delphi had successfully done trials of driverless car on Audi SQ5. The vehicles the company will now focus on are electric cars which run at a speed of 25 to 30 kilometers. With the current project it aims to study how commuters use the system. Delphi is looking at more such projects in North America and Europe. It already has an autonomous fleet operating in Silicon Valley and had managed to run a successful coast to coast drive in the U.S.

If phase one is successfully completed by 2019, Singapore is planning a larger fleet of self-driven and driverless cars to be employed for public service. By 2022, the country wants to launch a regularly operating automated cab service.

The current decision to rope in Delphi, is in line with Singapore’s Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (SAVI), formed in 2014, to oversee autonomous vehicle (AV) research. The initiative particularly aims at providing automated solutions for first to last mile connectivity.

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