NTU and Volvo will begin testing autonomous electric passenger buses at the CETRAN test center starting in early 2019, and each 40-seater bus will be equipped with GPS and integrated navigation systems that will enable it to drive, park and even charge itself. Courtesy of JTC.
For Volvo, this will be its first autonomous application in public transportation. It has already demonstrated its autonomous technology in mining, quarry and refuse collection operations.
The 12-m Volvo 7900 Electric bus is already in service around the world, providing a quiet and emission-free operation and requiring 80 percent less energy than an equivalent-size diesel bus. The 40-seater buses to be deployed in Singapore will be equipped with autonomous driving technologies, including GPS and lidar laser technology systems, for charting, positioning and detecting obstacles around the vehicle, along with an integrated navigation system that includes automated steering, gear-changing and speed-throttling technologies.
"We have a vision to transform NTU into a smart campus that embraces technology to improve everyday life and ensures the sustainability of resources,” said Subra Suresh, NTU president. “This partnership with Volvo on electric autonomous buses is part of the road map of the Smart Campus initiative. We hope that the solutions created out of this program will contribute significantly to Singapore's ambition of adopting autonomous vehicle technologies and enhancing public transportation."
The buses will be tested starting in early 2019 at the Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous (CETRAN) vehicles at NTU. The partnership with Volvo is also part of the collaboration between NTU and the Lang Transport Authority of Singapore under the university's living lab platform announced in October 2016. The living lab platform assesses technology maturity and road-worthiness, including the certification of the technologies for deployment on public roads.
"We are seeing fast-growing interest in both autonomous and electric vehicles in cities all over the world,” said Håkan Agnevall, president of Volvo Buses. “Together with NTU, one of the world's leading universities of technology, we now have the possibility of testing various solutions under realistic conditions in a major city that has high ambitions for its public transport.”