Volvo and NTU partner on autonomous electric buses in Singapore

Volvo Buses has signed a cooperation agreement with Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on a research and development programme for autonomous electric buses.

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority has previously announced that self-driving buses will be deployed in several areas of the country by 2022. The programme represents Volvo’s first autonomous foray into public transportation.

The partners will use two all-electric Volvo buses as the basis of the programme, building the autonomous driving solution on Volvo’s platform.

NTU’s researchers will use one bus to test new functionality and study interactions with other road users at Singapore’s new autonomous vehicle test facility, CETRAN.

A partnership with public transport operator SMRT will see the second vehicle used in bus depot tests, with the eventual aim of autonomous buses being able to charge their batteries, drive to the depot’s vehicle wash and park – all on their own.

“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.”

“The technology developed in Singapore can contribute to future autonomous applications by Volvo Buses,” continued Agnevall.

“NTU takes pride in its strong industry connections, and this partnership with Volvo will pave the way for future mobility solutions by developing and testing autonomous buses right here on campus,” said NTU President Professor Subra Suresh.

“These solutions will further strengthen Singapore’s vision of embracing autonomous vehicle technologies and enhance public transportation.”

The collaboration will initially last for two years, with the autonomous buses arriving in Singapore early in 2019.