First driverless vehicles for public goes on trial

First driverless vehicles for public goes on trial
A buggy developed by the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (Smart) and the National University of Singapore (NUS).

SINGAPORE - Fancy being driven around the lakes of Jurong in a buggy that does not have a driver?

This risky-sounding idea will become a reality when Singapore's first driverless vehicles for the public take to the tarmac in the third quarter of this year.

But don't worry, they should be perfectly safe.

The two golf buggies are each fitted with $30,000 worth of technology which ensures that they stick to programmed routes and avoid collisions.

They are expected to ply the footpaths of the Chinese and Japanese gardens, which measure around the size of 26 football pitches.

The Straits Times understands the rides are likely to be free to members of the public who want to try them, in an effort to get Singaporeans used to this futuristic mode of transport.

Sources say more buggies are expected to be deployed at Jurong East MRT station early next year to shuttle residents to nearby buildings or amenities.

"The whole idea is to raise awareness and the public's acceptance of such a mode of transport for the initial and final legs of a typical journey," said a source close to the project. This could mean the journey from a train station to a bus stop or a nearby library.

The Straits Times understands that users operate the converted buggy - which seats three people - via a touchscreen or a smartphone app by clicking on preset routes.

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