At the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Kent Ridge campus, a fully autonomous shuttle is currently under the trial period which started from Saturday, May 25. This vehicle is being operated by ComfortDelGro Bus Pte Ltd, which is ComfortDelGro's wholly-owned subsidiary.
The EasyMile EZ10 autonomous bus shuttle, also called as NUSmart Shuttle has started the road test on Saturday covering 1.6 km route between Heng Mui Keng Terrace and Business Link within the NUS campus.
It was funded and imported by Inchcape Singapore, which is a strong supporter of the technology adoption and also provides technical expertise on vehicle type approval.
NUS stated that a road test is important for NUSmart Shuttle to "map" the route through the collection of data for the vehicle's navigation systems. To ensure the accuracy of the mapping, the shuttle will be travelling at between 5 km/h and 16 km/h during this period.
It should be noted that after the completion of mapping process the autonomous shuttle will run a validation test for three hours daily over a four-week period but during this time, NUSmart Shuttle will not be taking passengers.
In the third quarter of the year, the NUSmart Shuttle is expected to begin the passenger service trial. NUS said it is the first autonomous shuttle bus that is being run by a land transport operator in real mixed traffic conditions, alongside regular buses, cars and motorcycles.
As per the features, the driverless NUSmart Shuttle is fully electric and can carry up to 12 people. It follows a predefined route and is equipped with a full range of sensors to detect and avoid potential obstacles.
NUS explained that the EasyMile EZ10 autonomous bus shuttle relies on "its own internal array of software and hardware technologies for its navigation on the roads, without any assistance of external infrastructure. Benefitting from the latest developments in robotics and Artificial Intelligence."
Even though the NUSmart is a driverless fully automatic vehicle, but it also includes a Safety Operator on board for safety reasons that will be helpful to provide information to passengers and ensure safe operation of the vehicle.
However, ComfortDelGro Group, through its subsidiary, SBS Transit Ltd, is currently participating in two ongoing trials at Sentosa and Jurong Island.