A growing frustration faced by the people in major cities is the First/Last Mile problem in regional transit. It is the extra time and hassle commuters face when they travel from home to a transit station, and then from the station at the other end of the trip to their destination. In Singapore, these interminable miles can be shortened by fleets of Automated Vehicles (AVs).
To support the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) development of test requirements and standards to deploy AVs in Singapore, NTU is leading the Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of AVs – NTU (CETRAN). While CETRAN will not directly develop new technologies for AVs, it will generate fundamental research on how these systems should operate, develop testing requirements, and establish an international standard for AVs.
Safety of passengers is highly prioritised in the development of AVs. Helping the public and transport regulators trust self-driven road vehicles — not just in Singapore but around the world — is the aim of CETRAN. The Research Collaboration Agreement (RCA) signed between NTU and The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) in October 2017 promises TNO's contribution of their scenario-based methodology to analyse Singapore's traffic conditions and driver behaviour. It aids the facilitation of more accurate research, subsequently ensuring functional and operational safety and security in the driverless cars.
Furthermore, the 1.8-ha CETRAN Test Circuit provides a simulated road environment for the testing of AVs prior to their deployment on public roads, and it complements the AV testbed in one-north. The track testing will have the dual function of testing the most critical functionality in the real world, while at the same time validating that the simulation in the virtual world is correct.
CETRAN's testing requirements have to contend with both the strict and objective engineering tests of vehicles, and the more subjective test of a virtual driver’s ability and judgement. This project will remain as a pilot programme until 2019, with plans to transition into an operational services by 2022 and expanding to other areas of Singapore on successive years.