Singapore to test autonomous truck system

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Singapore will develop and test an autonomous container truck platooning system, The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) announced in a joint statement on Thursday.

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Truck platooning involves a human-driven lead truck leading a convoy of driverless trucks. In the Singapore trials, the trucks will transport containers from one port terminal to another, the statement explained.

“Efficient freight movement is critical to the competitiveness of our port. Truck platooning will also alleviate our shortage of manpower, and allow more freight movement to be conducted at night to ease traffic congestion,” it added.

The transport ministry and port operator signed agreements with Scania and Toyota Tsusho to design, develop, and test the autonomous platooning system.

Pang Kin Keong, Permanent Secretary for Transport and Chairman of the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport in Singapore (CARTS), said, “Trucking as we know it today is a highly labor-intensive industry. We face a shortage of truck drivers. In this regard, truck platooning technology presents us with an opportunity to boost productivity in both the port sector and the trucking industry. It will also open up opportunities for truck drivers to take on higher-skilled roles as fleet operators and managers.”

Ong Kim Pong, Regional CEO Southeast Asia, PSA International added, “As PSA prepares for our future terminals at Tuas, it is timely that we move on to the next steps in developing autonomous truck platooning technology. I am excited by the progress being made, as it underlines our joint commitment to being future-ready, while also helping us continue to serve our customers better through fast and efficient interterminal container movement.”

The truck platooning trials will take place in two phases over a three-year period from January 2017 to December 2019.

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