Volvo Buses and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are cooperating to research and develop autonomous electric buses. Singapore aims to deploy self-driving buses in several areas by 2022.
This is Volvo’s first application of autonomous technology in the public transport field, following demonstrations in mining, quarry and refuse collection operations.
“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. We consider Singapore and NTU as excellent partners for Volvo, offering an enabling environment and complete ecosystem of research, development and implementation of new solutions. The technology developed in Singapore can contribute to future autonomous applications by Volvo Buses.”
Volvo and NTU will build an autonomous driving solution for two all-electric 12m Volvo 7900 Electric buses. They will rely on GPS and lidar technology for positioning and scanning, with steering, gear changing and speed regulated automatically.
One of the buses will be tested by NTU at CETRAN, a new test facility for autonomous vehicles. The other will be tested at a bus depot with public transport operator SMRT. The partners hope to develop buses that can charge their batteries, drive to a washing area at the depot and park by themselves. ABB will provide fast-charging stations based on the OppCharge interface.
The programme has begun and will initially last for two years. The vehicles are scheduled to arrive in Singapore at the beginning of 2019.