BUKIT LANJAN: Singapore set to achieve a first - driverless Volvo buses by 2020

BUKIT LANJAN: Singapore set to achieve a first - driverless Volvo buses by 2020

This blog has featured many news reports on the global evolution and transformation of the automobile technology - electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous vehicles.

The reason is because that’s the future for both private and public transport modes and systems in the world.

“The articles are featured for information and education for the benefit of our readers,” Gerakan Deputy Speaker Syed Abdul Razak Alsagoff said.

He said Malaysians need to keep up with the times with the latest news and information to enable them to be prepared and understand what’s in store when the technology “arrives to rule” - likely by 2020 for developed nations like China, the US, Singapore and European countries.

“The technology can also be classified as disruptive technology, thereby affecting businesses and job,” he added.

Syed Razak, who is Gerakan’s nominee to contest N.37 Bukit Lanjan in the coming 14th General Election (GE14), said Malaysians would probably need to cross the Causeway down south to Singapore to experience driverless bus rides by 2020 (only about two years away).

Below are three Straits Times news reports that need no further explanation why Singapore is way ahead of Malaysia in EVs and autonomous vehicles:

"NTU and Volvo Buses to develop electric, driverless buses by 2019

An artist impression of a Volvo electric bus.PHOTO: VOLVO BUSES
JAN 11, 2018, 2:59 PM SGT
Adrian Lim
Transport Correspondent

SINGAPORE - Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Volvo Buses will team up to develop driverless electricity-powered buses, which they target to begin testing in Singapore in early 2019.

Through a partnership inked on Thursday (Jan 11), the Swedish firm will provide two 12m, 40-seater battery-powered buses, which will be fitted with autonomous driving technologies.

The buses will have Global Positioning System and lidar (light detection and ranging) sensors, which use laser beams to map the surrounding environment and detect obstacles.

The two parties will work with Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB to use the company's fast-charging technology to charge up the buses' batteries during layovers.

NTU and Volvo will also partner SMRT to assess buses at a depot to see if the vehicles can navigate into washing bays and park at charging stations.

The four parties – NTU, Volvo, ABB and SMRT – signed agreements to collaborate, during a ceremony on Thursday at the NTU’s Research Techno Plaza. The event was attended by Swedish Ambassador to Singapore, Mr Hakan Jevrell.

The self-driving buses will first be tested in a test circuit for autonomous vehicles, located outside NTU, before they are put on the roads.

An artist impression of a Volvo electric bus being tested out at the Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of AVs – NTU (Cetran). PHOTO: VOLVO BUSES
NTU previously said it would deploy the driverless buses on a 1.4km route between NTU and the neighbouring CleanTech Park, before possibly extending the route to the nearby Pioneer MRT station.

NTU’s vice-president for research, Professor Lam Khin Yong, said the development of a driverless bus will dovetail with the Government’s vision to have autonomous vehicles in Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District from 2022 for commuter use.

Prof Lam said during a media briefing on Thursday: “Hopefully, this collaboration with Volvo will be one of the successful tenderers for that exercise.”

About 50 researchers and students from NTU will be roped in for the research collaboration with Volvo over a four-year period.

While Volvo provides the buses and autonomous driving technology, NTU will work with Volvo to develop software and algorithms for application in public bus transportation.

Volvo Buses' president Hakan Agnevall said Volvo is an ideal fit for Singapore's roads, as 1,800 of Singapore's 2,200 double-decker buses are currently running on Volvo chassis.

Mr Agnevall said the partnership with NTU marks the company's first foray into autonomous uses for buses and public transport.

Volvo has been involved in developing autonomous vehicles for mining, quarry and refuse collection operations.

Asked about when passengers can actually ride one of Volvo’s autonomous buses, Mr Agnevall told The Straits Times that with a safety driver on board, this can happen “very soon” after tests are concluded.

NTU president Subra Suresh said in a speech at the university on Thursday: "Like NTU, Volvo embraces technological change and disruption. They are no strangers to electro-mobility with their electric and electric hybrid buses, which are already operating around the world.

"Together with NTU's expertise in engineering and mobility research, this partnership will push the frontiers of public transportation." - Straits Times

A "jay-walker" passing in front of a Navya self-driving shuttle bus at the new autonomous vehicle test centre. It will provide a "safe, controlled and configurable" testing environment for AV developers to test their technologies using a range of simulated on-road scenarios, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who opened the 2ha centre yesterday.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

New $3.6m centre to put self-driving vehicles to the test
NOV 23, 2017, 5:00 AM SGT
Adrian Lim
Transport Correspondent

An autonomous vehicle (AV) test centre which officially opened yesterday will put self-driving vehicles through their paces, with a test circuit replicating Singapore's road and traffic conditions.

The 2ha test centre also has a rain simulator and flood zone to test the navigation abilities of autonomous vehicles under different weather conditions.

The $3.6 million facility was jointly developed by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the Land Transport Authority and JTC, as part of the Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of AVs - NTU, which was launched in August last year.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who opened the AV test centre, said it will provide a "safe, controlled and configurable" testing environment for AV developers to test their technologies using a range of simulated on-road scenarios.

"These scenarios could include aggressive driving and interactions with other road users, including cyclists and users of personal mobility devices," Mr Khaw said.

Mr Niels de Boer, the programme director of Future Mobility Solutions (Autonomous Vehicles) at NTU, said the test centre will allow new AVs to be trialled before they are put on the roads at the designated AV trial routes, which include one-north and Buona Vista.

In the future, the test centre will also test the safety of AVs without a safety driver behind the wheel, said Mr de Boer.

The test track has a network of seven 360-degree closed-circuit television cameras at strategic locations which will stream real-time footage to a monitoring and evaluation system.

NTU, which manages the AV test centre, said up to six AV developers will be using the facilities over the next six months.

One of them is US and Singapore-based start-up nuTonomy, which plans to launch driverless taxis here by the middle of next year.

Mr Doug Parker, the company's chief operating officer, said: "We can script scenarios using robotic bikes and mannequins to make very challenging situations that we might not see at one-north."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2017, with the headline 'New $3.6m centre to put self-driving vehicles to the test'. - Straits Times

Self-driving buses to be tested at NTU

Assistant Professor Xu Hong (on minister's right) showing Senior Minister of State for Transport Ng Chee Meng the walking simulator at the Singapore International Transport Congress and Exhibition 2016 on Oct 19, 2016.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
OCT 20, 2016, 5:00 AM SGT

If 2018 trial succeeds, technology may be used for other bus services in five years' time

Adrian Lim
Transport Correspondent

Singapore's first self-driving buses will hit the roads at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 2018, in another trial on the use of autonomous vehicles here.

If successful, experts say the technology could be applied to other bus services in as early as five years' time, starting with shuttle service- type routes with a few stops and predictable traffic conditions.

The trial places Singapore among a handful of cities, such as Helsinki and Perth, which are also testing driverless buses. It will be run by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Energy Research Institute at NTU (ERI@N).The latest pilot adds to Singapore's driverless vehicle push, which includes an on-demand self-driving taxi trial ongoing at one-north. The LTA and JTC are also jointly developing a 1.8ha test circuit at CleanTech Park for driverless vehicles.

The LTA and NTU said yesterday that driverless buses, combined with the rail network and self-driving shuttles or pods for first- and last-mile commutes, will form the future transportation landscape, one "not dominated by roads, carparks and private cars".

"Self-driving buses will arrive at bus stops at precise timings every morning, allowing us to plan our journeys more effectively," they said in a joint news release. "During off-peak hours, these buses will be deployed dynamically based on commuter demand and the fastest possible route, thus reducing the number of vehicles needed to ply the town and maximising the number of commuters on board each vehicle."

For the trial, ERI@N plans to use two electric-hybrid buses, which it will outfit with intelligent sensors, and develop an autonomous system that can navigate local road traffic and climate conditions. The trial is scheduled for early 2018, and starts with a 1.4km route between NTU and CleanTech Park. A year later, the plan is to stretch the route to the nearby Pioneer MRT station.

ERI@N's executive director, Professor Subodh Mhaisalkar, said the institute is studying which brand of bus to use, but it will be picked from among those already used on Singapore's public bus network.
NTU and Volvo Buses to develop electric, driverless buses by 2019

"We want to make sure that once we prove it (the system), there should not be any hindrance to scaling and going from two buses to multiple buses," Prof Subodh said.

Associate Professor Marcelo Ang, acting director of the National University of Singapore's Advanced Robotics Centre, said self-driving buses could be deployed on short routes like a shuttle bus service in as early as five years' time. But he feels that a dynamically routed autonomous bus service may take 10 more years. "For shuttle services, you can programme the buses to anticipate what the traffic conditions are at various times... But for a dynamic route, there are more uncertainties."

Separately, the LTA and NTU also signed a deal to improve rail reliability by developing a real-time condition monitoring prototype. This will help detect early signs of defects in traction power. - Straits Times



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