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MoU signed for Nanyang Technological University

MOU-for-NTU-SingaporeSjoerd van der Zwaan, Chief Technology Officer

NTU has ample experience with autonomous vehicles and knows exactly what it wants and what it doesn’t want

2getthere signs MoU for NTU

Today, 2getthere, the Utrecht-based company specializing in autonomous transit systems, Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) and SMRT Services have joined forces to deploy fully automated Group Rapid Transit (GRT) autonomous vehicles (AV) on the NTU Smart Campus by 2019. The three parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at a ceremony, paving the way for the GRT to be integrated into NTU’s transport network. The new GRTs will be tested on NTU’s campus in a few phases, which will start around the last quarter this year. The vehicles are expected to operate a service route that connects NTU’s halls of residences with the main academic areas, serving 200 to 300 passengers daily.

The 2getthere silent roadster uses magnetic pellets on the road for autonomous navigation and can travel in both directions. It has a top speed of 40 kilometres per hour and can ferry 24 passengers with seating space for eight. The collaboration will also involve conducting research to improve autonomous vehicle technologies such as increasing the use of artificial intelligence, developing advanced sensors and sensor fusion algorithms, and improving fleet management technologies. The trial would be gradually expanded campus-wide, running alongside other autonomous vehicles that have already been undergoing tests since 2012. This latest testbedding of autonomous vehicles is part of the university’s Smart Campus initiative to develop rapidly advancing transport technologies to benefit the NTU community and society.

NTU knows what it wants

Mr Sjoerd van der Zwaan, Chief Technology Officer of 2getthere, stated, “It is exciting to be able to work together with NTU and SMRT while capitalising on the synergy of an actual AV implementation and investing in research simultaneously. NTU has ample experience with autonomous vehicles and knows exactly what it wants and what it doesn’t want – in terms of availability, reliability, quality, safety and AV features such as comfort and user experience. In combination with SMRT’s operations expertise, all key ingredients are present to ensure a successful implementation of our AVs at NTU. We look forward to our continued cooperation.”

NTU President Professor Subra Suresh, said, “NTU’s campus is not only a living testbed for innovative technologies, but also the first to test driverless vehicles on Singapore roads. Autonomous vehicles are an integral part of the NTU Smart Campus vision, which leverages tech-enabled solutions to create better living and learning experiences. This new collaboration with SMRT and 2getthere highlights our goal of developing cutting-edge transport solutions that will benefit Singapore and beyond.”

Mr Desmond Kuek, President and Group CEO of SMRT, said, “NTU is a leading research institution in AV technology. SMRT is proud to work with NTU and 2getthere to deploy the first operational AV service in Singapore. This MoU marks the commitment of the three parties in leveraging the latest AV technology for our public transport system and redefine the standard for a world-class transport service.”

The GRT had undergone preliminary tests along a 350-metre route between two NTU halls of residences since November last year. During the trials, close to 4,000 passengers were ferried between the two stops.

Part of the joint MaaS testbed

The GRT was introduced to NTU as part of the Mobility-as-a-Service testbed, a collaboration between NTU, JTC and SMRT last September. The testbed seeks to integrate multiple modes of transport, including shuttle buses, bike sharing systems, e-scooters and e-bikes, and the autonomous GRT into a single mobility platform called jalan-jalan, developed by mobilityX to improve connectivity and travel within NTU’s campus and JTC’s CleanTech Park in Jurong Innovation District, which will be the largest living lab in Singapore. Jalan-jalan is a Malay term for ‘going for a walk’.

The smartphone application jalan-jalan received strong support during its pilot run between NTU’s campus and JTC’s CleanTech Park from last August. Just for e-scooters alone, the app was used to book over 67,000 trips, clocking a total mileage of over 80,000 kilometres.

Edward Lim Xun Qian, President of NTU’s Student Union, said, “The app allows a seamless and convenient way to travel around NTU’s large campus, right from our halls to our classes. Not only does it help us book Personal Mobility Devices such as e-scooters, the app is also integrated with public and shuttle buses around campus, providing an all-in-one transport solution for students.”

Colin Lim, mobilityX CEO said, “The NTU and CTP community have a greater range of transport options, and have experienced improved connectivity through innovative first-and-last mile transport solutions like the AV and scooter and bicycle sharing. For example, the utilisation rate of each scooter at approximately 20 trips/day is one of the highest in Singapore.”

Glory Wee, Director, Aerospace, Marine and Urban Solutions, JTC said, “We are delighted by the positive response from the CleanTech Park community on the trial. Urban solutions, such as Mobility-as-a-Service, help us improve the travel experience of the communities in JTC’s estates and lay the foundation for next-generation connectivity and mobility infrastructure in our new estates.”

Currently serving 12 stops on NTU’s campus and the CleanTech Park area, the app will gradually include more stops and manage more mobility options based on users’ feedback and test results.

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Automated transit at Nanyang Technological University


Automated transit at NTU

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, and Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. Together with LTA (Land Transport Authority), NTU launched the Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous Vehicles (Cetran) where autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles are tested before hitting Singapore roads. It features an extensive Singapore campus.

System Description

2getthere’s fully automated Group Rapid Transit (GRT) autonomous vehicles (AV) will ultimately replace the existing buses on the NTU Smart Campus. The new GRTs will be tested on NTU’s campus in a few phases. The vehicles are expected to operate a service route first that connects NTU’s halls of residences with the main academic areas. The trial would be gradually expanded campus-wide. The deployment is part of the university’s Smart Campus initiative to develop rapidly advancing transport technologies to benefit the NTU community and society.

Technological Cooperation

The collaboration will also involve conducting research to improve autonomous vehicle technologies such as increasing the use of artificial intelligence, developing advanced sensors and sensor fusion algorithms, and improving fleet management technologies. Autonomous vehicles are an integral part of the NTU Smart Campus vision, which leverages tech-enabled solutions to create better living and learning experiences. The collaboration allows for the development of cutting-edge transport solutions that will benefit Singapore and beyond.

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Prototype 3rd generation autonomous vehicles on the move

Prototype-shippingRobbert Lohmann, Chief Operations Officer, 2getthere

“The GRT is sure to impress with its looks, technology and performance. It is simply the most mature autonomous vehicle available.”

Prototype Driverless Vehicle

Today a special flight departed from Schiphol Airport to Asia. Dutch technology firm 2getthere placed a newly developed prototype driverless vehicle vehicle (GRT) on transport to Singapore. The prototype driverless vehicle carries passengers autonomously, without the intervention of a driver or steward. In the future, the vehicle will also serve Bluewaters Island in Dubai and Rivium business park in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is ensuring it is the focus of attention with regards to autonomous vehicles internationally. The GRT vehicle is a creation of the Utrecht technology firm 2getthere, specializing in the development of solutions in the field of autonomous transport. The third generation vehicle will be used for demonstrations at various locations in Singapore, including the Kim Chuan Depot (KCD) and Nanyang Technical University. This is done on behalf of 2getthere Asia, a joint venture between 2getthere and Singapore’s public transport company SMRT, also a shareholder of the Dutch company.

The new GRT is designed by the renowned automotive designer Zagato from Milan (known for unique car designs for Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari and Aston Martin). With a length of 6 meters, width of 2.1 meters and height of 2.8 meters, the GRT accommodates up to 24. The vehicle is based on the latest technological developments, with the battery for example charging from 30% to 80% in just 10 minutes.

World First

The new GRT is intended to be deployed in Dubai in the future, where 2getthere has obtained a large contract for autonomous public transport to Bluewaters Island.

In addition, the vehicle will also be driving in the Netherlands: 2getthere is also the company behind the Parkshuttle in Capelle aan den IJssel. This cooperation was extended earlier this year, with the deployment of the new GRT featuring a world first for 2getthere and the municipality of Capelle: the first fully autonomous system on the public road, in permanent operation and without steward.

Autonomous transport solutions based on technology and systems developed by 2getthere are cost-effective, in addition to environmentally friendly. Compared with traditional rail-based solutions, savings can be made of 50% on infrastructure and maintenance. For this reason, self-propelled transportation systems are very suitable for medium-sized airports, business campuses (up to 50,000 employees) and entertainment parks.

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SMRT and 2getthere enter into a partnership for Singapore

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At the start of the World Eco City Summit, leading transit operator SMRT Ltd’s subsidiary, SMRT International Pte Ltd and technology provider 2getthere signed an exclusive cooperation agreement for the introduction of 2getthere’s innovative driverless transit systems to Singapore.

The agreement was signed by Goh Eng Kiat, Managing Director, SMRT International, and Carel van Helsdingen, Chief Executive Officer, 2getthere, on 2 June 2014. The signing was witnessed by Desmond Kuek, President and Chief Executive Officer, SMRT Corporation; Jacques Werner, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; and Ahmed Aboutaleb, the Mayor of the City of Rotterdam. The agreement includes a preferred partnership with SMRT for operations with any 2getthere application in Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

SMRT and 2getthere have been working together since 2010, with SMRT partnering 2getthere for the operation of the Masdar City Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system. The system recently carried its one millionth passenger. With a featured system availability of 99.4%, it is widely regarded as a huge success.

Mr. Desmond Kuek said: “This is a significant milestone in the relationship between SMRT and 2getthere as we mark the signing of the Exclusive Distributorship for 2getthere transit systems in Singapore, and Preferred Operator status for the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions. SMRT is a leading multi-modal transport operator in Singapore and 2getthere, a global driverless transit system leader. Both our companies are now aligned even closer in our drive towards leveraging technology to redefine the standard of world class transport services.”[/one_half]

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Mr. Carel van Helsdingen added: “SMRT has demonstrated that it is a very reliable partner with extensive operational experience. Our success in previous collaborations has been a major contributing factor to sealing this new exclusive agreement. We look forward to tapping on SMRT’s expertise and understanding of the transit landscape, to tailor solutions that address the global demand for more efficient modes of transportation.”

The signing of the agreement adds another strong local presence for 2getthere. In addition to the partnership with SMRT in Singapore, it is also collaborating with United Technical Services for the Gulf Coast Countries, and the Land Network for Taiwan.

For SMRT, this agreement is part of its larger strategy to widen its reach into international markets through the provision of consultancy, operational expertise and services.

 

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