Before the year is up, Singaporeans could be hopping on these driverless pod vehicles to get to school and work.
The pods run on electricity, and are able to travel autonomously on smaller roads, such as those within a gated community or school campus.
2getthere, the Dutch maker of the pods, and Singaporean transportation operator SMRT on Wednesday announced they will be building 24-passenger cars that are slated to run commercially by the end of the year. They’ve established a new joint venture called 2getthere Asia that will operate and maintain the vehicles in the city state.
The cars are expected to be able to handle a load of up to 8,000 passengers per hour going in a single direction, 2getthere said.
The pods look like they’re going to be larger versions of the ones that already run in Abu Dhabi’s cleantech business park, Masdar City — also produced by 2getthere and SMRT back in 2010. The futuristic petrol car-free park has 10 electric pods, which seat between four and six passengers each, and the system marked its millionth passenger carried in 2014.
In this video, you can see Masdar City’s pods in operation, exiting their charging blocks and moving seamlessly to the next station.
2getthere has also built a similar system for Rotterdam’s Rivium Business Park, which has six vehicles running that can carry 20 passengers each. 2getthere says 2,500 people use the pods each day.
SMRT is the second-largest public transportation company in Singapore, and operates several of the country’s bus and subway train networks. It also has overseas operations in Hong Kong and the Middle East.