Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Volvo Buses will begin testing autonomous electric passenger buses in Singapore in 2019. It will be the first autonomous application in public transportation anywhere in the world by Volvo which has already demonstrated this technology in mining, quarry and refuses collection operations.
The 12-metre Volvo 7900 Electric bus is already in service around the world, providing a quiet and emission-free operation, and requiring 80% less energy than an equivalently sized diesel bus. The 40-seater buses will be equipped with GPS and LIDAR laser technology systems for charting, positioning and detecting obstacles around the vehicle, and an integrated navigation system that includes automated steering, gear changing, and speed throttling technologies, the company said.
The buses will be tested from early 2019 at the Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous vehicles at NTU (CETRAN). The NTU and Volvo partnership is also part of the collaboration between NTU and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) under the university’s living lab platform announced in October 2016. The NTU-Volvo programme will be supported by SMRT and ABB, which will be assessing the vehicles’ roadworthiness and charging systems.
“We are seeing fast-growing interest in both autonomous and electric vehicles in cities all over the world. 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,” said Håkan Agnevall, President Volvo Buses.
NTU President Professor Subra Suresh, said: “We have a vision to transform NTU into a smart campus that embraces technology to improve everyday life, and ensures the sustainability of resources. This partnership with Volvo on electric autonomous buses is part of the roadmap of the Smart Campus initiative. We hope that the solutions created out of this programme will contribute significantly to Singapore’s ambition of adopting autonomous vehicle technologies and enhancing public transportation.”