Singapore is Expected to Approve a Trial of Self-Driving Taxis in the City

Singapore is expected to again show that their government can be quite innovative and action oriented. Singapore plans to allow a trial of self-driving taxis on Singapore’s roads.

A Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) is a research consortium that’s applied to run the driverless taxi pilot project on the normal public roads in Singapore.

Singapore Is Already Planning for a Future of Driverless Taxis

the basic idea will be that people can book a driverless ride via a smartphone. Initially service will be limited to the “one-north” district of Singapore, a massive business park full of biomedical, digital media, and technology companies. The first round of rides will be free, he says, and might be restricted to “one-north” employees.

Frazzoli says SMART was the first applicant for the trial, and hopes to get its testing permit soon. When approval does arrive, the consortium plans to role out a modest robotaxi trial in “one-north” within about six months. But Frazzoli believes Singapore has much bigger plans for driverless cabs; he thinks officials will broaden the program to the whole city-state within about a year.

Driverless cars really seem to be expected, by those who should know, to be on the roads much sooner than I ever thought possible. It is great to see Singapore leading in this effort. This is exactly the type of thing Singapore needs to pursue to continue to succeed economically.

Related: Profiting from Self-Driving CarsTaxis Vanish in Rain as Singapore Gets CongestedTransportation from Singapore to Johor Bahru MalaysiaJB to Singapore by TaxiCMU Wins $2 million in Urban Robot Auto Race (2007)

Strong Singapore Dollar

The Singapore dollar has been very strong. This is a sign of a strong economy. But it also brings challenges for an economy when its currency appreciates. Competing against companies internationally is more difficult as those wishing to buy Singapore products and services have to pay the increased prices due to the currency appreciation. Often companies will absorb part of the currency increase but that reduce their profit (or forces them to reduce costs – which can mean layoff and reduced pay). Those making Singapore dollars though get the benefit of being able to buy more for the same price – the same S$100 buy 10% more if the currency has risen 10%.

Many countries try to devalue or at least prevent increases in value in their currency as this is often easier for politicians to do than helping move the economy to a new reality. Singapore however has taken serious steps (as you would expect, taking smart economic steps for decades is why their economy is so strong and currency has done so well) to accept that as they will have a stronger currency (especially when they see what Europe and the USA are doing – acting irresponsibly and making it hard to have faith in their currencies).

Here are some charts of the Singapore Dollar (SGD) versus other currencies over the last 12 years.

chart of the Singapor Dollar v. US Dollar 1999-2011

From 1999 to 2011 the Singapore Dollar (SGD) is up 37% v. the US Dollar. And just since January 1st of 2009 it is up 19%.

See the current SGD to USD chart on yahoo. Such a rapid accent in the currency makes it difficult for companies and individuals to react.

chart of SGD v Euro from 1999 to 2011

From 1999 to 2011 the SGD has risen 11% versus the Euro. Since January 1st of 2009 the SGD has risen 15%.

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Manchester United Said to Plan $1B Singapore IPO

Singapore’s finance sector continues to do extremely well. Singapore and Hong Kong continue to battle for Asian financial center leadership (even over Toyko and mainland China). This is a sign of Singapore’s rising financial status in a way that will catch the notice of many football fans around the globe. But it is only a visible manifestation of continued long term success in the financial community. Manchester United Said to Plan $1B Singapore IPO:

United says it’s the most-supported team in the world, with a club-sponsored survey revealing a global following of more than 330 million. The Glazers’ commercial operation, led by former J.P. Morgan banker Edward Woodward, has secured global sponsorship and licensing agreements that have led to annual revenue doubling to about 300 million pounds in six years.

The club has chosen Asia for its IPO because of its popularity in the region, one of the people said. The team has fan clubs in countries such as Thailand, Singapore and South Korea and a supporter base there of 190 million. It’s been searching for real estate in the region in an effort to boost its commercial operations.

Singapore boasts Asia’s highest concentration of millionaires and a United-themed restaurant.

Recently Singapore’s national team moved forward to the next round of World Cup qualifying with a tie of Malaysia (they beat Malaysia 4-1 earlier). Singapore’s team is ranking 131st in the world.

Related: Singapore Ranks Highly as an Expat DestinationAerodynamics for Sports, “Impossible” Football Kick Leads to New Physics Equation

Singapore Ranks Highly as an Expat Destination

Global Professionals on the Move Report 2011 analyses responses from 2,637 professionals from 85 different countries with qualifications of a bachelor degree or above. The most popular destinations for those working internationally (outside of their country): USA (18% of respondents), UK (11%), Australia (10%), Switzerland (6%), Singapore (5%), Canada (5%), Hong Kong (4%).

The press release also states that 42% of Singapore’s population is made up of expats and overseas students and 80% of the professionals surveyed found it easy to settle in and make new friends in Singapore.

Working overseas received a great endorsement from participants who had already relocated, with 98% saying they would recommend working abroad to others and 76% of those away for at least three years saying they would stay working overseas for longer.

Related: Online Resources for Moving To and Living In Singapore