Singapore to upskill drivers ahead of autonomous bus pilot

Posted: 25 October 2019 |

Approximately 100 drivers will undergo training over the next few years in preparation for the planned pilot deployment of autonomous buses in Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District in early 2020.

Singapore to upskill bus captains in autonomous bus handling

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore and eight industry stakeholders have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to upskill bus drivers in preparation for the potential deployment of autonomous buses in Singapore.

The signatories of the MOU are LTA, the National Transport Workers’ Union, ST Engineering, SBS Transit Ltd, SMRT Buses Ltd, Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd, Go-Ahead Singapore Pte Ltd, Workforce Singapore, and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute.

The MOU is said to demonstrate the commitment of all parties to work together to raise the skills and competencies of public bus drivers to enable them to take on new roles when autonomous buses are eventually deployed in Singapore. One such role is the safety operator who is trained to take over immediate control of the autonomous bus should the need arise. The safety operator is also trained to remotely monitor the operation of the autonomous bus, to ensure public safety.

A hundred bus drivers will receive training and as autonomous technology develops further, the size of the cohort will be progressively increased to ensure a ready pool of safety operators when autonomous buses are introduced on a larger scale.

Developing technologies such as autonomous and dynamically-routed vehicles is key to realising the vision of a 20-minute town and 45-minute city as encapsulated in LTA’s Land Transport Masterplan 2040.

LTA aims to continue to work with industry stakeholders to prepare other public bus employees, such as technicians and operations personnel, to take on a range of other roles that would be essential to the deployment of autonomous buses in Singapore.