SINGAPORE (Dec 31): Early this year, the future of driverless cars appeared bright. There were several trials being carried out, in various countries, on both closed circuits and open roads. But progress may have taken a step back after a fatal accident involving autonomous vehicles (AVs) that were being trialled. In March, an Uber self-driving test vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona.

In Singapore, on Oct 18, 2016, AV technology start-up Nutonomy’s vehicle collided with a lorry at low speed during a test drive. Nutonomy halted its trials following the accident, but resumed them after a month.

Indeed, despite the hiccups, Singapore has continued to be supportive of AV technology, with roads in one-north, for example, designated as AV test sites. In August 2016, Nanyang Technological University launched a Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of AVs that features a 1.8ha simulated open road environment. NTU has seen a host of companies trialling their AV buses on campus, even ferrying students along a set route.

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