A new driverless car will start tooling around the National University of Singapore (NUS) campus in tests that may one day see such vehicles shuttling people from their homes to destinations like MRT stations.
The Singapore-made car, called the Shared Computer Operated Transport, or Scot, was launched on Tuesday by the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Techno-logy (Smart) and NUS.
Starting with a Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car, the researchers retrofitted it at a cost of S$30,000 (RM78,490) so it would drive programmed routes.
The car, which seats four and has a top speed of 130kph, uses laser sensors with a 30m range to detect and avoid obstacles in its path.
It also uses remote sensing technology that allows it to function without relying on the Global Positioning System.
The researchers also wrote the maps used by the Scot to get from place to place.
They intend it to be deployed on demand in future, shared by residents like taxis. It could help solve cities’ “first- and last-mile problems” – the initial and final legs of journeys between home and transportation hubs that often cause congestion and air pollution.
Such vehicles could be especially relevant to Singapore given its ageing population, which means an increasing number of people with mobility issues, said Smart lead investigator Emilio Frazzoli.
“We are looking at this to provide wider access to mobility for the elderly population in Singa-pore,” he said.
It would also make car-sharing more effective, he added. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network