For the second year running, a study reveals that Singapore remains the leading country in Asia in terms of readiness to embrace autonomous vehicles (AV). The second edition of KPMG’s Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI), which measures various countries’ preparedness and openness to AV technology, placed Singapore in second spot globally, behind the Netherlands.

The index evaluated 25 countries globally, measuring their state of readiness for AV adoption against four pillars (policy and legislation, technology and innovation, infrastructure and consumer acceptance). Five new countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, Israel and Norway) were added this year to bring the total to 25.

Singapore was placed first in two of the four pillars, these being policy and legislation as well as consumer acceptance, and in terms of infrastructure, it’s only behind the Netherlands.

It was placed 15th in technology and innovation, but according to Satya Ramamurthy, partner and head of infrastructure, government and healthcare at KPMG in Singapore, the country’s lack of conventional automotive manufacturing may prove to be a strength in developing electric vehicles and AVs, given that they use a substantially different set of components.

The republic has been pushing hard on AV development – it opened the Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous Vehicles (Cetran) at Nanyang Technological University in 2017, which has a test town for driverless vehicles complete with traffic lights, bus stops, skyscrapers and a rain-making machine to offer realistic testing conditions.

It is also planning real-world field tests with driverless buses and shuttles in three areas (Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District) for off-peak and on-demand commuting from 2022, and it is working with the Netherlands on an international standard for AVs.

Ramamurthy says that the index results clearly reflects that the ecosystem for AVs in Singapore is ready and very much aligned with how the country is establishing itself as a Smart Nation and centre for AV development.

“The government is very proactive in thinking about the future of mobility. It is seriously investigating the possibilities as well as preparing for a regulatory environment that will facilitate a future that is autonomous. Along with the release of TR-68, a set of provisional national standards that guide the safe deployment of AV, Singapore is well-positioned to harness the societal and economic benefits of AV,” he said.