The future of public transportation, at least on a smaller scale, may be not only electric vehicles, but driverless electric vehicles that can autonomously navigate along pre-determined routes and drop passengers at their choice of stops.
In Singapore, an autonomous electric shuttle will soon be put into service on a two kilometer route between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and JTC Corporation’s (JTC) CleanTech Park, allowing for a real-world test of the system.
During the initial two-year partnership between NTU, JTC and Induct Technologies, the shuttles will be tested, improved, and optimized, with the aim of providing a safe and reliable green transportation alternative.
The shuttle can carry eight passengers, who can select their destination on the shuttle’s touchscreen display, at a top speed of about 20 km per hour. The vehicle, called the Navia, is built by Induct Technology, and uses GPS, laser range finders, and cameras to generate a map of the route, as well as detect obstacles along the way. At each stop along its route, the Navia uses a wireless induction charging system to top off its lithium-polymer batteries.
According to NTU, this project could lead to additional innovations in wireless fast charging, battery technologies, and autonomous driving, and possibly be the entry-point for the integration of other autonomous shuttles in Singapore’s transportation system.
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