Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore and Volvo Buses, in collaboration with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has launched the world’s full-size autonomous electric bus on March 5, 2019. The 12-meter (40-foot) long, single-deck electric bus is a Volvo 7900 electric bus is outfitted with LiDAR sensors, stereo-vision cameras and navigation controls managed by a comprehensive artificial intelligence (AI) system to create a digital map around it, thus allowing it to navigate autonomously while adhering to traffic rules and avoiding obstacles.
With the reliance on AI and software in general, the NTU and Volvo Buses electric vehicle is also at risks of behind hacked, but fortunately, the AI system is guarded by industry-leading cybersecurity measures to ensure cyber intrusions will never occur. Also onboard is an advanced global navigation satellite system which uses multiple data sources to enable an impressive location accuracy of as close as one centimeter (0.393-inch).
Volvo 7900 is a 36-seater bus with a capacity to accommodate up to 80 passengers and the first of two that has undergone preliminary rounds of rigorous testing over at the Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous vehicles at NTU (CETRAN). As the first bus undergoes further tests as per planned, a second autonomous bus will be put into real-world test at a bus deport managed by SMRT to access the vehicle’s ability to autonomously navigate into vehicle washing bays and parking safely at charging areas.
ABB (ASEA Brown Boveri) is in this too. The Swedish robotics, heavy electrical and automation company will develop a smart fast-charging solution based on the OppCharge concept, the HVC 300P fast charge system offers a charge power of 300 kW via a pantograph mounted on the infrastructure that could recharge a battery in 3-6 minutes. NTU has been working and testing on self-driving vehicle technologies for several years now and this announcement marks a major milestone involving full-size electric buses. You can catch the bus in action in the video below.
Images: Volvo Buses.