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Joint venture to launch automated vehicle system in Singapore

A new joint venture will bring automated passenger vehicles to Singapore by the end of the year, with the intention of introducing the system throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Singapore’s leading multimodal public transport operator, SMRT Services Pte Ltd (SMRT), which runs MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), light rail, bus and taxi service in the city-state, has announced a joint venture (JV) with the Netherlands-based autonomous vehicle manufacturer, 2 Getthere Holding BV (2getthere), which will market, supply and operate 2getthere’s automated vehicle systems in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region.

The new Singapore-based JV, called 2getthere Asia Pte Ltd, will showcase the Dutch company’s 3rd-generation Group Rapid Transit (GRT) vehicle capabilities in Singapore by the end of the year, which will highlight the vehicle’s enhanced and new features.

2getthere’s original GRT vehicles operated successfully at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport from 1997 until 2004, and the company’s second generation ParkShuttle GRT system is currently operational at the Rivium business park in the Netherlands. Its Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system has been operating in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi since 2010, carrying well over one million passengers since deployment.

2getthere provides both PRT and GRT systems, which are guided transit modes with fully automated driverless operation, featuring computer controlled vehicles that operate on a dedicated network of guideways. 2getthere’s vehicles are unique in being able to operate autonomously in demanding weather conditions, using artificial landmarks for navigation.

The third generation GRT vehicles are able to carry up to 24 passengers each, and can operate as a low-cost automated transit system that can cater for up to 8,000 passengers per hour in any single direction. 2getthere is also incrementally shifting to mixed-use traffic operations through active participation in several research programs worldwide. 2getthere Asia will pursue both automated and mixed-use transit projects in Singapore and the region.

Designed for airports, campuses, residential, resort and industrial park networks, the GRT is fully electric-powered, typically equipped with a LiFePO4 battery, and are fitted with key safety features to ensure security of passengers, including laser and ultrasonic obstacle detection systems. The vehicles are completely driverless and automatically guided by 2getthere’s proven magnet-based navigation system that uses small cylindrical passive magnets embedded in the road surface, spaced every 6 feet (2m), which ensure positional accuracy to within 1 inch (2cm) on straight sections. The vehicles follow software-defined routes by continuously calculating their position relative to their origin. The distance is measured by counting the number of wheel revolutions, while direction of travel is measured via the steering angle and information from a gyro.

“We are delighted to join forces with SMRT Services to further market our proven systems in the Asia-Pacific region, a high-growth sector for innovative transport technologies in the coming years,” said Carel van Helsdingen, 2getthere’s chairman and founder. “Building on decades of technological development and experience gathered through projects implemented worldwide, our innovative technology will be able to optimize the efficiency, reliability and safety of transport networks.”

SMRT’s managing director, Colin Lim, commented, “There is a growing national push to implement future mobility solutions that can meet our first and last-mile connectivity needs in Singapore. As part of the JV, SMRT Services will leverage on our experience in installation, operations and maintenance of transit systems to realize these solutions locally. The automated vehicles will complement our existing multi-modal transport operations to bring about seamless connectivity for commuters.”

The latest research from around the world will be presented at the Autonomous Vehicle Test & Development Symposium. Click here to register.

April 21, 2016

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