Welcome, your tour guide today will be...virtual

Welcome, your tour guide today will be...virtual
Minister of State for Trade & Industry Mr Teo Ser Luck (extreme left), looks at the television screen that indicates the upcoming nearby destination as the details of the location are played over the sound system, during the maiden bus tour of the city and Chinatown area. Bus Hub, an express bus service that shuttles tourists and locals to attractions here, launching the SAEx Virtual Tour Guide System (VTGS), a virtual tour guide to counter falling tour guide numbers.

Private transport operator Bus Hub has launched a satellite-tracked "virtual tour guide system" that plays videos on its trips around local tourist spots.

The short clips - with commentary - start up when an on-board global positioning system detects that the bus is nearing certain attractions.

Bus Hub managing director V Anilan says the system, which took two years and $100,000 to develop, is aimed at independent travellers, "who make up about 40 per cent of tourists".

Bus Hub's Singapore Attractions Express network serves such travellers.

On average, it shuttles about 12,000 passengers a month between all major tourist attractions and the city centre.

Mr Anilan said the system works even when scheduled routes are changed, as the appropriate video is triggered by GPS signals, making the patented technology "more useful" than pre-recorded clips activated by drivers.

While he said the innovation means cost savings to tour operators, "it is not meant to replace the tour guide".

"There will be things which this system cannot do, and only a person can," added Mr Anilan. "It is more like a tour guide's assistant."

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