Published on 08 Jan 2023

Hope or hype? The road map for driverless vehicles in South Korea and Singapore

Are you game to try autonomous vehicles? In parts of South Korea, they already carry passengers on fixed routes, for instance. In Singapore, trials are ongoing, with experts hopeful certain services will become a reality within two years.

First published online at CNA

Rethinking mobility: A self-driving minibus in Seoul. Is Singapore next?

SEOUL and SINGAPORE: The year Singapore opened its driverless vehicle test centre, in 2017, the Government unveiled plans to pilot self-driving bus and shuttle services in 2022 in Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District.

But those plans have not yet become a reality.

For years, technology companies and car manufacturers had also promised that it would be only a matter of time, and as early as 2020, before self-driving cars are on the road in the millions.

“There was a bit of false expectations there,” said Niels de Boer, senior programme director of the Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous Vehicles — NTU (Cetran). “There were a lot of companies making claims … and people in the industry know that they were exaggerating.

“If you look at even traditional safety features in a car, it takes a very long time — more than five years in general — to develop a single safety feature … so why do you think an autonomous vehicle can be done in less time than a single feature?”

Despite the false dawn in Singapore too, the Republic dethroned the Netherlands from the top spot in advisory firm KPMG’s 2020 Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index, which assesses which countries are best prepared to adopt autonomous vehicles.

The only other nation from East or Southeast Asia ranked in the top 10 was South Korea, which improved by six spots to reach seventh.

South Korea first opened its autonomous vehicle test centre in 2017 too but has since deployed autonomous taxi and bus services already. The programme Talking Point checks them out in a two-part special and explores what the near future might hold for Singapore.

Read the full article here