Autonomous system scheduled for 2036
The Transport Ministry plans to complete its "smart autonomous system" nationwide by 2036, with an ambitious goal to improve logistics competitiveness.
Thailand's transport master plan was created in 2017, aiming to improve the country's transport and logistics system in line with the government's initiative to turn the country into a high-tech industrial base, said Teerapong Rodprasert, vice-minister for transport.
There are three areas of development -- green and safe transport, inclusivity, and efficiency -- with the ministry hoping to reduce energy use in transport by 15%.
Better traffic solutions and management may help decrease the death toll from road accidents by 2.8% and lower greenhouse emissions by 20%, the ministry said.
Some 50% of people living in Greater Bangkok should be able to use the mass transport system in 20 years, while 60% of people travelling across provinces should be able to use the mass transport system, Mr Teerapong said.
To reach these targets, the ministry will invest in logistics and transport management technology and solutions.
"The new cars are so clever and are proof we need to move towards high-tech products," Mr Teerapong said. "In the future, we want to remove all road signs and replace them with an autonomous system."
All vehicles have GPS systems in order to raise the efficiency of transport, and safety confidence and driver behaviour will be controlled by autonomous technology.
The goal, however, requires improvement of human resources and IT, especially for logistics systems.
"The smart autonomous system is not a stretch for Thais," Mr Teerapong said at a transport forum last week. "Having this system will help increase competitiveness for the entire transport system."
He said the government is looking to a new paradigm in technology partnerships to better connect assets and people, and it believes that a positive disruption in transport can help solve all major challenges.
Speaking at the same seminar, Li Peng, regional officer for communications navigation and surveillance for Asia-Pacific at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), said the air travel business would continue to grow throughout Asia-Pacific.
ICAO has to deal with the challenges that come with growth, such as managing aviation standards and safety.
Mr Li said ICAO must collaborate further with other authorities and organisations to improve overall air traffic.
Mario Hardy, chief executive of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, said growing tourism and travel will create more business opportunities.
He suggested that the government help startups and small businesses take advantage of tourism growth. Startups in Singapore, for instance, have flourished after getting financial support from the government.