SINGAPORE: Automated vehicle systems providing seamless first-and-last-mile connectivity for commuters in Singapore could soon become a reality with the announcement of a joint venture (JV) between SMRT Services and Dutch company 2 Getthere Holding (2getthere) on Wednesday (Apr 20).
The Singapore-based JV, called 2getthere Asia, will market, install, operate and maintain automated vehicle systems for customers in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific, according to both parties during a press briefing.
The aim is to commercialise 2getthere's third-generation Group Rapid Transit vehicle system in Singapore by the end of the year, both parties added.
A feasibililty study for these vehicles has been conducted on a campus in Singapore, according to 2getthere’s chairman and founder Carel van Helsdingen. “The first step is the feasibility study, the next step is the trial, which is the proof of the pudding, and then, the full implementation.”
A Group Rapid Transit vehicle that can accommodate 24 passengers. (Photo: SMRT Services)
These Group Rapid Transit vehicles, which is similar to an automated minibus, can travel at a speed of 40km/h and carry up to 24 passengers each. It can operate as a low-cost automated transit system that can cater for up to 8,000 passengers per hour in any single direction.
“We can see these systems being applied in closed environments like campuses, hospitals, and business parks,” said SMRT Services managing director Colin Lim. “This would provide your high quality first and last mile connectivity – for example, a commuter could stop at an MRT station, get onto one of these vehicles and go to different parts of his work environment.”
A replica of a Personal Rapid Transit system shown at Wednesday's press briefing. (Photo: Lianne Chia)
2getthere has already implemented similar systems in other parts of the world. For instance, a driverless Personal Rapid Transit system, which uses smaller vehicles that seat four, was developed in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. Masdar City is a carbon-neutral, car-free city powered entirely by alternative energy sources. More than 2 million passenger trips have been made on this system to date.