The Singapore government has announced an expansion of testing and facilities at the One-North business park, where there are currently four distinct local and international parties carrying out regular autonomous vehicle on-road trials.
In January 2015, the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA), in partnership with JTC Corporation, the site’s developer, designated One-North as the city-state’s first autonomous vehicle (AV) testbed, where interested applicants can test out their vehicles’ navigation and safety systems on public roads.
As the testbed participants continue to develop and strengthen their expertise and capabilities, LTA has been working closely with JTC to further identify more roads around One-North’s Biopolis, Fusionopolis and Mediapolis clusters to expand the testbed boundaries as the next progressive step to provide sufficiently-challenging test routes. From September 2016, the test routes open to participants have been doubled in length from the original 3.7 miles (6km) to a 7.4-mile (12km) network within the One-North district.
To monitor the trials’ progress and support the on-road tests, since July the LTA has progressively implemented infrastructure along the test route in phases. The new systems include:
A network of CCTV cameras that has been implemented at 20 locations to allow the LTA to monitor and study the behavior and on-the-ground challenges of AVs at critical locations, such as traffic junctions and road bends. Video footages from the CCTV cameras can also serve as an independent source of evidence during an investigation, should an incident occur;
DSRC (dedicated short-range communications) vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) beacons will progressively be implemented at 10 road junctions in One-North, which will enhance the AVs’ wayfinding ability by broadcasting information such as Traffic Light Signal, Position Augmentation information, as well as traffic conditions in the vicinity, the location of nearby roadworks, or traffic incidents;
A backend system housed at LTA’s Intelligent Transport Systems Center will serve as a platform to analyze and evaluate the AVs’ performance using the data generated by the vehicles, together with the CCTV footage. It will serve as a monitoring platform to study the AVs and send out alerts when a vehicle is travelling in autonomous mode outside of permitted boundaries. It will also manage the flow of information between the test vehicles and road infrastructure system.
To ensure the safety of road users, all AV prototypes have to go through basic safety demonstration tests before they are allowed to be tested on the public roads in One-North, and qualified safety drivers have to be on board at all times. To look into the development of testing standards and regulation for AVs, LTA, in partnership with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), launched the Center of Excellence for Testing & Research of AVs NTU (CETRAN) and Test Circuit at the CleanTech Park in August this year. The development of these guidelines will pave the way for the widespread deployment of AVs in the future, by ensuring that they can be safely integrated with existing road traffic.