Singapore to Open Robocar Testing Facility

Nanyang Technological University's "Smart Mobility Test Bed" will focus on vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications

Illustration: Nanyang Technological University
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More and more research sites are coming on line that are dedicated to studying the basketful of challenges that must be overcome before today’s cars morph into fully autonomous vehicles. The latest one is on the campus of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.

The facility, which will be a research and testing grounds for robocars and intelligent traffic system infrastructure, is a partnership between NTU and NXP Semiconductors. The primary focus of the Smart Mobility Test Bed, as it will be known, will be vehicle-to-everything, or V2X, technology that will let cars communicate with each other and with roadways to prevent collisions and traffic jams.

The program launch was highlighted by a V2X demonstration in which three driverless cars roamed part of the campus, “talking” to one another using real-time data traded among the vehicles and the roadside infrastructure. The intelligent V2X system that was on display is capable of choreographing these data swaps within a radius of 2 kilometers.

The US $22 million agreement between NTU and NXP, which the school and the company finalized earlier this week, calls for them to upgrade the robocar proving ground over the next four years so that 100 vehicles and 50 roadside units can be put through their paces. This will give the researchers the ability to study how self-driving cars acquit themselves during rush hour traffic.

 “Over the past year, we have started to transform NTU into a living lab,” NTU chief of staff and vice president for research Lam Khin Yong said in a press release. The effort started with the university’s EcoCampus initiative, under which Singapore's largest solar power plant was built and smart building technologies were installed. “This partnership with NXP is another big step forward in the transformation of the NTU campus, as the university continues to develop next generation technologies that will contribute to Singapore's smart mobility eco-system and network,” said Lam.

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