The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will expand the geographical zone within which autonomous vehicle (AV) companies can apply to do testing, from the current sites such as Buona Vista, CleanTech Park, Jurong Island, the Nanyang Technological University, and Sentosa, to a region covering all of western Singapore.
LTA has been facilitating on-road AV trials since 2015 to understand how the technology can be used to enhance Singapore’s transport system. Over the last few years, the number of trial areas as well as the number of roads available for testing have been progressively expanded.
In response to industry feedback that a more varied testing environment will help accelerate technology development, LTA will expand the AV testbed to all of western Singapore. The expanded testbed will open up more than 1,000km of public roads for AV companies to progressively conduct on-road testing in a wider range of traffic scenarios and road conditions. This will support the robust testing of AVs’ capabilities to provide inter-town services and longer-haul journeys in a safe manner, and pave the way for the planned pilot deployment of AVs in the early 2020s.
The introduction of AV trials is expected to take place gradually over the next several years in a small-scale, incremental manner. The conduct of such trials will continue to be subject to LTA’s approval. LTA will engage local grassroots and community leaders ahead of time if there are plans to conduct AV trials in their specific constituencies. As is the case today, any new trials will begin in a limited manner within a small area. Any further expansions in trials will only be permitted after the AVs pass stringent tests designed to demonstrate a higher level of competency.
Stringent Safety Framework in Place for AV Trials
Public safety continues to be the top priority for these trials. All AVs will continue to undergo a thorough safety assessment before they are approved for on-road trials. All AVs must also continue to have a qualified safety driver who is ready to take over immediate control of the vehicle should the need arise. Third-party liability insurance is also mandatory
For easy identification by other road users, all test vehicles will continue to sport prominent decals and markings. LTA will continue to monitor AV trial activities in real time to ensure compliance with trial conditions.
 Today, besides the larger Buona Vista area (which includes the National University of Singapore and Singapore Science Park 1 and 2), AVs are also being trialled in areas such as the Nanyang Technological University, CleanTech Park, the Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of AVs – NTU (CETRAN) AV Test Centre, Sentosa, and Jurong Island.
 By comparison, the largest of the current trial areas designated by LTA today, the Buona Vista trial area, has about 70km of public roads available for AV testing.