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Singapore launches new self-driving bus trial

Orderly and high-tech, the Asian city-state has become a testbed for self-driving vehicles and has developed home-grown technology while inviting foreign companies to trial their own.

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Singapore has moved a step closer to a driverless public transport network with the launch of a new trial of self-driving buses.

Orderly and high-tech, the Asian city-state has become a testbed for self-driving vehicles and has developed home-grown technology while inviting foreign companies to trial their own.

In a three-month trial launched this week, passengers can book a bus ride through an app that takes them around Singapore’s Science Park, a high-tech business hub, during off-peak hours.

The charge is just Sg$0.20 ($0.15).

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It is not the first self-driving bus trial in the city but is the first to charge a fee.

Singapore’s first trial of self-driving buses came in 2015, while a trial of driverless road sweepers was launched earlier this year.

Despite the technology on the buses, a driver is still at the wheel to take control if necessary and must drive the bus manually along part of the route.

Khor Jing Qian, a 23-year-old student who took the bus to attend a scholarship interview on Wednesday, said the journey, which took about 10 minutes, was “convenient and easy”.

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“It was unnatural to see the bus driver not driving, but I’ve heard of these kinds of technologies, I’ve seen them before, so I think this is quite an innovative thing and definitely the way forward,” he told AFP.

The shuttles are also operating in another area of the city on a fixed schedule as part of the same trial, according to a statement from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

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© Agence France-Presse

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/AFP

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