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Driverless pods are the latest and coolest mode of public transport

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by April 27, 2016 General
The group rapid transport (GRT) vehicles will hit the streets in Singapore by the end of 2016.

Marco Pedracini/2getthere

The group rapid transport (GRT) vehicles will hit the streets in Singapore by the end of 2016.

The future is here.

A new-generation mode of public transport, called group rapid transit (GRT) vehicles, or “driverless pods”, will be launched in the city-state of Singapore by the end of 2016.

The small air-conditioned pods run on electricity, are wheelchair-access-friendly and can carry up to 24 passengers each.

The driverless pods are air-conditioned.

The driverless pods are air-conditioned.

As the pods do not require drivers and can be ordered on-demand, they are said to be safer and more resource-efficient.

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The initiative is a joint venture between Dutch engineering firm 2getthere and Singapore transport operator SMRT.

First- and second-generation GRTs have been running in a Dutch business park in Rivium since 1999.

First- and second-generation GRTs have been running in a Dutch business park in Rivium since 1999.

The GRTs will be used in “semi-controlled” environments, such as gated communities and school campuses, and function as a feeder service from existing public transport options to provide seamless travel.

“We can see these systems being applied in closed environments, for example, campuses, hospitals [and] business parks,” said SMRT’s managing director, Colin Lim.

The pods will be the third-generation of GRTs produced by 2getthere.

Earlier models of the pods have been running in a Dutch business park in Rivium since 1999, and in the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol since 1997.

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A smaller version of the GRTs, called personalised rapid transport vehicles (PRTs), have also been operating in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City since 2010.

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