6 Technological Advancements That Make Singapore a Smart City

Sophie Zoria -
A city skyline and a person with a VR headset
Illustration: © IoT For All

While the rest of the world is living in 2023, Singapore seems to be in 2123. The city’s sci-fi views perfectly depict that Singapore is targeting to become a smart nation.

People all over the world falsely consider that China, Japan, or the United States serve as the guiding light of technological progress. Yet, the most futuristic place where technological breakthroughs are as regular as London’s rainfalls is Singapore. 

The city-state is steadily flexing its standing as Asia’s technology capital.

Singapore is truly a smart city, and here are 7 technological advancements that prove this. 

The most futuristic place where technological breakthroughs are as regular as London’s rainfalls is Singapore.”

-Sophie Zoria

Self-driving Cars

In 2016, nuTonomy (later acquired by Aptiv) became the pioneer in autonomous vehicle testing in Singapore by launching the first “robot taxis.” Although the trial was limited in scope, with only 6 vehicles tested within a 2.5-square-mile area, it paved the way for other companies to conduct their own autonomous taxi trials.

Today, in 2023, the dream of widespread autonomous taxis in Singapore is still very much alive. The city-state’s largest taxi operator, ComfortDelGro, is investing in self-driving software provider Ottopia and has partnered with Mobileye to launch self-driving taxis.

Hiring Robotic Police

Though Singapore’s crime rates are already some of the lowest in the world, the implementation of technologies into police performance creates even more trouble for criminals. Singapore has an arsenal of smart city technologies at their disposal that make keeping people safe more efficient.

In September of 2021, Singapore conducted a three-week trial of two patrol robots (both named “Xavier”) that blasted warnings at people whenever they noticed “undesirable” social behavior. The robots were programmed to detect behavior such as smoking in prohibited areas, improperly-parked bicycles, and breaching of Covid-19 social distancing rules. The Xavier robots did not take any physical action against people beyond the warning blasts (and a glaring stare).

Police also have at their disposal the MiniX robot, a remote-controlled 4-wheel robot that detects bombs and other potential hazards at big events. The robot moves through underground tunnels at large venues, while a drone checks rooftop and high-rise areas. Both have been utilized at events like the May Day Rally, Shangri-La Dialogue, and National Day celebrations.

Smart Living in Singapore

The transformation of Singapore into a smart city is primarily driven by the Housing & Development Board’s (HDB) Smart Town Framework, introduced in 2014. This framework encompasses five key areas, including homes, and promotes the idea of a smart home for every Singaporean. The HDB encourages citizens to upgrade their homes by implementing technologies such as a utility management system.

A utilities management system not only helps you stay calm and be sure that you have turned the tap or light off, but it also allows you to lower utility bills.

Smart home technologies are now advancing at the highest pace, so it’s only a matter of time before people have self-sufficient homes.

Robots Among Us

Due to the impact of Covid-19, the foreign worker population in Singapore shrunk between December 2019 and September 2021, leading the city-state to embrace robot workers as a solution. With 605 robots per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry, Singapore now has the second-highest number of robots globally, only behind South Korea’s 932, according to a 2021 report by the International Federation of Robotics. Robots can now be found in a wide range of settings in Singapore, including construction sites, the National Library, metro stations, and even coffee shops.

Singapore also strives to incorporate robots into the medical industry to promote its efficacy. For example, robots already dispense medication, which makes this process faster and brings down the waiting times at pharmacies.

Cashless Payments

Smart living implies comfort in every aspect of life. That’s why Singapore is shifting toward a cashless payment approach to rid people of carrying cash and staying in long ATM lines. 

Today, Singaporeans can pay via QR codes at restaurants or retail shops using only their smartphones. Payments can be made through such bank wallet apps as NETSPay, DBS PayLah!, OCBC Pay Anyone, and UOB Mighty. 

In fact, with the development of cashless payments, people will steadily stop carrying any cash with them. It’s expected that not only muggers will be out of business after several years but e-payments will also reduce illegal trade that relies on cash. 

E-payments and cashless payment methods are now widely used across the country. This practice puts Singapore one step closer to a smart city and a cashless nation.   

Merging With Virtual Reality

Speaking about the smart city concept, it’s impossible not to mention virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) examples in Singapore. 

Since augmented reality combines the virtual and real worlds, it makes it possible for businesses to engage users with their products remotely. Today, every Singaporean can try on clothes and makeup and even add furniture to their homes by holding a smartphone.

In 2022, Singapore made history by becoming the first country to create a digital twin of its entire nation. This virtual replica is continuously updated based on new data and serves as a valuable tool in addressing the effects of rising sea levels and in the implementation of renewable energy.

VR also offers vast opportunities for entertainment. Singapore is the cradle of the world’s leading virtual reality development companies. They bet on vast opportunities offered by VR and already fascinate gamers with new gaming experiences.

There Is No Doubt That Singapore is A Smart City

While the time travel machine is not invented yet, it’s still possible to look into the future by visiting Asia’s technology capital: Singapore. May their futuristic spirit inspire you to participate in the creation of the future.

Originally published on November 22, 2019. Updated February 1, 2023.

Sophie Zoria

Guest Writer
Guest Writer
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All.
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All.