Singapore to trial driverless two-seater cars in Punggol next year

A visual mockup of the QIQ Pod. Image: QIQ Global/Facebook
A visual mockup of the QIQ Pod. Image: QIQ Global/Facebook

Driverless two-seater cars are expected to ply the roads of Punggol next year as part of a trial. 

Developed by the QIQ Global startup company, these electric-powered and semi-autonomous vehicles are meant for traveling short distances and do not require driving skills to operate them. 

“For a lot of the residents in Punggol, they are still required to take a feeder service or to walk a long distance to reach the LRT (Light Rail Transit) station,” co-founder Justin Sim told CNA today

Each vehicle measures 2.4 meters long and 1 meter wide and will be available as part of a car-sharing service. Punggol has been chosen to trial the vehicles as public transport is said to be inaccessible in some areas. Passengers could also use them for deliveries as well. 

“It’s so easy to drive you don’t even need to learn how to park the car. When you end the ride, you leave it by the curbside and it will park by itself.” Sim added.

It uses geo-fencing with GPS technology that allows it to navigate within its boundaries and can be driven at up to 45 kilometers per hour (about 30 miles per hour). 

A 30 minute ride could cost S$2. Monthly payments could range from S$30 to S$50 for multiple daily rides. 

Riders can still choose to drive the semi-autonomous car if they want. For those who can’t, the vehicle can park by itself at the nearest parking stations. 

The startup plans to roll out between 300 and 600 units in Punggol next year.

They can all be transported to designated locations via platooning, saving on manpower. The method allows vehicles to travel simultaneously on their own using wireless communication.

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