Visitors to the industry-leading 2019 Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress (ITSWC) were greeted by the latest evolutions in autonomous vehicles by the SMART Future Urban Mobility (SMART FM) interdisciplinary research group (IRG).
SMART FM is part of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT’s Research Enterprise in Singapore. FM harnesses new technological and institutional innovations to create the next generation of urban mobility systems to increase accessibility, equity, safety and environmental performance for the citizens and businesses of Singapore and
other metropolitan areas, worldwide.
It has continued to lead the autonomous vehicle research in Singapore since the first operations of its self-driving car in January 2014, and the team has since developed a series of innovative prototypes for self-driving wheelchairs, cars, buggies and scooters. In March this year, SMART FM’s self-driving car named SCOT or Shared Computer Operated Transport successfully completed its first milestone – a driving test by the Singapore government to certify and allow self-driving vehicles on public roads.
SMART FM hosted technical tours on the 23rd and 24th of October, featuring on-going research into future mobility options, carried out together with TUMCREATE, a research centre at the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) between the Technical University of Munich, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and the Future Cities Laboratory of the ETH Centre (SEC-FCL).
SMART FM also showcased an improved version of SMART FM’s first-last mile autonomous mobility on demand vehicles that can potentially provide practical solutions in hospitals, tourist attractions and urban environments, as well as pedestrian environments such as school and university campuses.
One of which is the self-driving wheelchair which was piloted at Changi General Hospital in September 2016. A collaboration among SMART, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the National University of Singapore (NUS), the project is an extension of the self-driving scooter launched previously.
This innovation can help nurses focus more on patient care as they can get relief from logistics work which includes searching for wheelchairs and wheeling patients in the complex hospital network.
During the event, SMART FM’s Lead Investigator and MIT Professor Christopher Zegras chaired a Special Interest Session (SIS) titled ‘Planning, Design and Application for Autonomous Mobility: International Perspectives’. The session hosted a broad discussion by experts to provide a comprehensive view on urban mobility and included an “autonomous district” simulation. The simulation explained the effects autonomy can have on urban form and the importance of urban design and planning to steer the impact of autonomy in planning a new city, providing details of how vehicle ownership, travel behaviour, parking and residential choices can be affected by autonomy.
This was an essential session for urban planners as they prepare their cities and townships to capitalise on the upcoming self-driving vehicle boom. Furthermore, the latest integrated urban design experiments will be presented, including Europe’s plans for automated vehicles and how top cities in the United States are exploring the issue of autonomy.
For autonomous vehicles to have a real impact on society, SMART FM believes that a holistic approach is essential, taking into account technology, operation and planning perspectives. It is important to not just develop new technologies to improve autonomous driving capabilities, but also investigate how to optimise vehicle and ride sharing systems and what that would mean in terms of policy implications.
“We understand that the quality of life and mobility go hand-in-hand, and we’re committed to pioneering cutting-edge urban mobility solutions to devise safer and more sustainable transportation systems that enrich societal well-being,” said SMART FM Lead Investigator and MIT Professor Christopher Zegras.
About Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART)
Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) is MIT’s Research Enterprise in Singapore, established by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in partnership with the National Research Foundation of Singapore (NRF) since 2007. SMART is the first entity in the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) developed by NRF. SMART serves as an intellectual and innovation hub for research interactions between MIT and Singapore. Cutting-edge research projects in areas of interest to both Singapore and MIT are undertaken at SMART. SMART currently comprises an Innovation Centre and six Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs): Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), BioSystems and Micromechanics (BioSyM), Critical Analytics for Manufacturing Personalized-Medicine (CAMP), Disruptive & Sustainable Technologies for Agricultural Precision (DiSTAP), Future Urban Mobility (FM) and Low Energy Electronic Systems (LEES).
SMART research is funded by the National Research Foundation Singapore under the CREATE programme. For more information, please visit: http://smart.mit.edu
About the Future Urban Mobility (FM) Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG)
The Future Urban Mobility (FM) Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) is one of six IRGs in the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Centre (SMART). FM harnesses new technological and institutional innovations to create the next generation of urban mobility systems to increase accessibility, equity, safety and environmental performance for the citizens and businesses of Singapore and other metropolitan areas, worldwide. SMART-FM is supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore and situated in the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE).
For more information, please visit: https://fm.smart.mit.edu