Driverless pods are the latest and coolest mode of public transport
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.
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.
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.
A smaller version of the GRTs, called personalised rapid transport vehicles (PRTs), have also been operating in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City since 2010.