The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and eight industry stakeholders today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to upskill bus captains in preparation for the potential deployment of autonomous buses in Singapore. The signatories of the MOU are LTA, the National Transport Workers’ Union, ST Engineering, SBS Transit Ltd, SMRT Buses Ltd, Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd, Go-Ahead Singapore Pte Ltd, Workforce Singapore, and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute.
2. The MOU demonstrates the commitment of all parties to work together to raise the skills and competencies of public bus captains to enable them to take on new roles when autonomous buses are eventually deployed in Singapore. One such role is the safety operator who is trained to take over immediate control of the autonomous bus should the need arise. The safety operator is also trained to remotely monitor the operation of the autonomous bus, to ensure public safety.
3. LTA will work closely with the industry to develop training programmes to equip public bus captains with the skills required for this role. As a start, about 100 bus captains will be identified to undergo training over the next few years in preparation for the planned pilot deployment of autonomous buses in Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District in the early 2020s. As autonomous technology develops further, the size of the cohort will be progressively increased to ensure a ready pool of safety operators when autonomous buses are introduced on a larger scale.
4. Leveraging technologies such as autonomous and dynamically-routed vehicles is key to realising the vision of a 20-minute town and 45-minute city as encapsulated in LTA’s Land Transport Masterplan 2040.
5. In the longer term, LTA will continue to work with industry stakeholders to prepare other public bus employees, such as technicians and operations personnel, to take on a range of other roles that would be essential to the deployment of autonomous buses in Singapore.