Singapore is planning to test driverless cars in 2015. This will function as a short range transit between the neighbourhood and nearby public transport spots, which is more like a shuttle service than a full blown taxi. While the lucky neighbourhood has not yet been revealed, it will apparently be one of the busier areas to better examine the impact of the service.
Lam Wee Shann, director of the futures division for Singapore’s Ministry of Transport, explained that the government is exploring driverless vehicles to reduce traffic congestion. Singapore has one of the most efficient public transport systems in the world as it tries to convince citizens to avoid owning cars. Lam was quoted as saying that the country welcomes industries and academics to test their automated vehicles in the city state, although he did not share if Google has contacted the government yet.
Singapore has been testing driverless golf carts on the campus of the National University of Singapore through a collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The country also has a driverless bus at the Cleantech eco-industrial park.
There are a lot of challenges in getting automated vehicles on to the roads, not least of which is ensuring that the cars do not end up causing accidents. However, many are beginning to look forward to automation as the future of transportation. Some futurists are already envisioning a world where nobody owns cars anymore, and simply order a vehicle to ferry them around as needed.