Singapore to be the first in the world to get self-driving taxis?

Singapore to be the first in the world to get self-driving taxis?
Delphi Singapore © The Verge

Singapore could be the first country in the world to get a widespread transport service made up entirely of self-driving cars.

That’s the view of Glen De Vos, the chief technology officer of Delphi Corporation, a major automotive supplier that is working to launch just such a robot taxi business here.

Delphi already has one self-driving car on the road here, and will introduce two more this month to gather more data as it prepares to operate an on-demand taxi service minus taxi drivers.

Fast approaching | delphi
Fast approaching | delphi


The company has been working with the Land Transport Authority since August last year on an autonomous taxi trial. The project is designed to figure out what is needed on the infrastructure side — in terms of the road network, data centres and so on — to make robot cabs viable here.

If all goes to plan, by 2020 you should be able to summon a driverless car with your smartphone to take you wherever you want.

“We’re not doing it as a science experiment. We want to work with the LTA to actually launch a commercial service,” says De Vos (above). “I would put Singapore at the very top of the list of cities that could deploy this quickly.”

Delphi’s self-driving Audis have 26 cameras and sensors that scan the world around them constantly, but what really makes them run isn’t electronic eyes. 

It’s brains.

If Intel has its way, those brains will come from its factories. The chip-making giant’s microprocessors already power practically everything with a keyboard, and it’s scrambling to have a presence that’s as ubiquitous on the road as it is in the office.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)
Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)


In common with more than 100 autonomous prototypes around the world, Delphi’s Audi is controlled by Intel chips.

The Santa Clara-based company is building a kit that carmakers can eventually plug into their products, potentially saving the motor industry from the effort of developing it themselves. Not to mention the R&D cost; why devote billions to creating something when you can buy an off-the-shelf solution and tailor it to your needs?

While it’s obviously early days in the race to autonomy, a potentially huge prize waits at the finish line. Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, estimates that the market for autonomous cars could be worth US$96 billion (S$135 billion) a year by 2025, and US$290 billion by 2035.

Until then, it almost seems like the cars themselves will be the easy part. Intel says an autonomous vehicle will generate four terabytes of data a day — and you thought your monthly 6GB cellphone plan was plenty.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)

Making sense of that digital tsunami is going to take serious computing power, says Jack Weast (below), the chief system architect for Intel’s autonomous driving division. “We see this as a data challenge,” he says.

Not all of the computing power has to be in the cars themselves, he says. Once a 5G mobile network is up and running here, it’s data centres that will keep autonomous cars running properly. “If you connect to the cloud, you can download high-definition map information, for example,” says Weast. That ensures the cars would never be confused by the sudden appearance of a new road.

Connected autonomous cars could also effectively talk, keeping up a constant flow of digital chatter that would warn them about road hazards long before a human driver would encounter them.

They could avoid jams, or drive in ultra-close formation to cut fuel consumption by as much as 15 percent by sharing their wind resistance.

Intel’s Weast predicts a huge drop in traffic injury or fatality once autonomous cars become the norm, along with a corresponding fall in insurance costs. The elderly and the very young would gain mobility, and an enormous amount of land could be reclaimed from today’s parking lots, he says.

“Autonomous vehicles are going to be very, very valuable to society at large,” he says.

To what extent that comes to pass, and how soon the kind of driverless future imagined by Weast and other engineers comes to fruition remain to be seen.

But given how much computing power is going to be needed to pull it off, one thing seems certain: there’s a high chance that whichever carmakers end up leading the autonomous race, their cars will have an Intel inside.

Akhyari Hananto

I began my career in the banking industry in 1997, and stayed approx 6 years in it. This industry boost his knowledge about the economic condition in Indonesia, both macro and micro, and how to More understand it. My banking career continued in Yogyakarta when I joined in a program funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB),as the coordinator for a program aimed to help improve the quality of learning and teaching process in private universities in Yogyakarta. When the earthquake stroke Yogyakarta, I chose to join an international NGO working in the area of ?disaster response and management, which allows me to help rebuild the city, as well as other disaster-stricken area in Indonesia. I went on to become the coordinator for emergency response in the Asia Pacific region. Then I was assigned for 1 year in Cambodia, as a country coordinator mostly to deliver developmental programs (water and sanitation, education, livelihood). In 2009, he continued his career as a protocol and HR officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya, and two years later I joined the Political and Economic Section until now, where i have to deal with extensive range of people and government officials, as well as private and government institution troughout eastern Indonesia. I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief in Good News From Indonesia (GNFI), a growing and influential social media movement, and was selected as one of The Most Influential Netizen 2011 by The Marketeers magazine. I also wrote a book on "Fundamentals of Disaster Management in 2007"?, "Good News From Indonesia : Beragam Prestasi Anak Bangsa di dunia"? which was luanched in August 2013, and "Indonesia Bersyukur"? which is launched in Sept 2013. In 2014, 3 books were released in which i was one of the writer; "Indonesia Pelangi Dunia"?, "Indonesia The Untold Stories"? and "Growing! Meretas Jalan Kejayaan" I give lectures to students in lectures nationwide, sharing on full range of issues, from economy, to diplomacy Less
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