Volvo Buses and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have signed a cooperation agreement on a research and development program for autonomous electric buses. The program is part of the Land Transport Authority of Singapore’s drive to create new solutions for tomorrow’s sustainable public transport.
Singapore and its Land Transport Authority (LTA) are recognized for their focus on public transport and deployment of autonomous vehicles in the effort to create a sustainable city environment. Singapore has announced that self-driving buses will be deployed in several areas of the country by 2022.
For Volvo this will be the first autonomous application in public transportation. Volvo has already demonstrated the autonomous technology in mining, quarry and refuse collection operations.
The basis of the program consists of two all-electric 12-metre Volvo 7900 Electric buses, of the same type that Volvo Buses already delivers today. Volvo and NTU will build the autonomous driving solution on Volvo’s platform.
One of the autonomous electric buses in the program will be used on Singapore’s advanced new test facility for autonomous vehicles, CETRAN (Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous Vehicles), which was inaugurated in November 2017. Here, NTU’s researchers will in a fenced-off area be able to test new functionality and study how the bus interacts with other road-users in various conditions.
The second bus will be used for tests in the bus depot in partnership with the public transport operator SMRT. The aim is that tomorrow’s autonomous buses should be able to charge their batteries, drive through the depots to the vehicle wash and park – entirely autonomously.
The cooperative program between Volvo Buses and NTU is now underway and will initially last for two years. The jointly developed autonomous electric buses will arrive into Singapore in the beginning of 2019.
Fast-charging stations based on the common OppCharge interface will be supplied by ABB. The OppCharge interface is very well suited for autonomous charging solutions in bus depots as well as in running traffic.
The autonomous Volvo 7900 Electric
• All-electric-powered, two-axle 12 m long city bus with low floor. Quiet and emission-free operation and 80 % lower energy consumption compared to a corresponding diesel bus.
• The buses will be equipped with GPS along with LIDAR laser technology-based system for charting, positioning and scanning the area around the vehicle. Automatic regulation of steering, gear changing and speed.
Source: Volvo Buses