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Will PM Lee take driverless taxis to work in future?




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By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond

During this year’s National Day Rally, PM Lee told Singaporeans that the defining challenge which we will face in this era is disruption.

“Things are changing fast, old models are not working, new models are coming thick and fast and we are having to adjust and to keep up. Because of technology, globalisation, and the disruption will happen over and over again relentlessly,” he said.

And the next disruption to look out for is driverless taxi service.

“I think we all know that we cannot stop progress and even Uber and Grab are going to be disrupted and the next round, maybe no drivers but instead, driverless cars running a taxi service,” he said.

“In fact in Singapore next year, we are going to start a trial of driverless taxis in One-North.”

One North designated as first Autonomous Vehicle (AV) test-bed

Since January last year, LTA has designated One North as the first Autonomous Vehicle (AV) test-bed in Singapore, where interested applicants can test out their driverless vehicles’ navigation control on public roads.

Currently, there are four distinct local and international parties carrying out regular autonomous vehicle on-road testing at one-north.

Today (18 Oct), LTA announced that the test routes have been doubled in length from the original 6km to a 12km network within One North.

“LTA has been working closely with JTC to further identify more roads around one-north’s Biopolis, Fusionopolis and Mediapolis to expand the test-bed boundaries as the next progressive step to provide sufficiently-challenging test routes,” LTA said.

First driverless car accident in Singapore

As LTA announced that it is doubling the test routes for the driverless cars, it was also reported that a driverless car in fact, collided with a lorry today (https://theindependent.sg.sg/first-driverless-car-accident-in-singapore-nutonomys-self-driving-vehicle-collides-with-lorry).

The test vehicle belonging to nuTonomy collided with a lorry when it was changing lane at Biopolis Drive this morning.

There were no injuries. LTA and the Police said they are investigating the cause of the incident. NuTonomy also said that it is cooperating fully with LTA and the Police.

Despite having safety engineers in the vehicle, it still collided with the lorry. An eye-witness said the side of the lorry was dented and the bumper of the driverless car was damaged.

Coming back to the PM’s vision of having driverless cars running taxi services next year, would he be game enough to start taking driverless taxis to work too?

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