PH inks agreement with US company for self-driving vehicles in New Clark City

John Mark Guda, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 13 2019 06:27 PM | Updated as of Aug 13 2019 10:13 PM

Courtesy of BCDA

Filipinos will get to experience self-driving cars after the operator of New Clark City (NCC) formally signed Tuesday an agreement with a US-based company to deploy self-driving vehicles to the smart city in Capas, Tarlac.

Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Vince Dizon said company COAST Autonomous would start a pilot project of self-driving vehicles to be used to transport athletes and the public alike to and from venues inside the NCC for the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

COAST Autonomous will be doing the electronic mapping at the NCC Phase 1 where three shuttles will be deployed. They will provide and use high-definition and 3D mapping machines. 

These self-driving vehicles are expected to transport people and goods within short distances at 500 meters maximum.

David Hickey, CEO of COAST Autonomous, stressed they are providing the units and the technology to the Philippines at no cost on the government, as its company is committed to utilizing technology to develop modern green cities.

COAST'S Chief Technology Officer Pierre Lefevre said the technology they are using is primarily geared towards the safety of passengers as well as those walking within the vehicle's route.

He has been optimizing the technology for about 20 years now and has created similar self-driving vehicles for institutions and personalities in the United States, including famous billionaire Bill Gates.

The self-driving vehicle units are expected to arrive in the country for testing ahead of the SEA Games slated from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.