Autonomous sweepers to be tested at One-North, NTU and CleanTech Park in Jurong

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SINGAPORE: Two autonomous sweepers will be tested in one north, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and CleanTech Park, the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said on Wednesday in a joint press release. (January 13).

Proof of concept trials for two autonomous environmental service vehicles (AESVs) have been launched by the NEA and will continue until July 2021, authorities said.

Testing will be conducted in designated test bed environments at one-north, NTU and CleanTech Park in the Jurong Innovation District.

“The projects are part of NEA’s Environmental Robotics Program and part of NEA’s ongoing efforts to better optimize resources, drive innovation, promote technology adoption, and improve productivity in the construction industry. environmental services, ”NEA and MOT said.

The testing comes after NEA and MOT awarded two consortia to design, develop and test the vehicles in March 2019.

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READ: Autonomous vehicles for road sweeping under test

The first consortium included NTU, Enway, SembWaste and Wong Fong Engineering Works.

The other consortium included ST Engineering and 800 Super Waste Management.

Vehicle testing will be carried out gradually, starting with off-peak hours such as weekends and evenings.

Both vehicles have undergone rigorous safety assessments by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and have been approved for public road testing in small-scale test bench environments, NEA and MOT said. .

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In accordance with the Safety Framework for Autonomous Vehicle Testing, a safety driver will be on board the vehicles at all times. The driver is trained to take immediate control of the vehicle when needed.

An image of the sticker that will be displayed on all autonomous vehicles being tested for easy identification by other road users. (Image: National Environment Agency)

The operation of each vehicle will be monitored in real time from a command center by an offsite operator who can deploy the units on different cleaning routes based on cleaning needs.

All AESV test vehicles will display prominent decals and markings for easy identification by other road users and in accordance with the safety framework.

“The application of AV (automated vehicle) technology to sweepers will enable service providers to adopt more innovative technologies to raise the standards, productivity and professionalism of the ES (environmental services) industry,” said NEA and MOT.

Authorities added that successful proof of concept testing would pave the way for pilot deployment of road cleaning vehicles in the early 2020s.

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Mr. Daryl Yeo, Director (Futures & Transformation) at MOT, said: “The pilot deployment of AESVs will help shift cleaning activities to off-peak times such as late evening hours and reduce traffic congestion.

“This demonstrates the great potential of autonomous systems to make our transportation network more efficient and more ready for the future.”

AESV MODIFIED FROM EXISTING MECHANICAL SWEEPERS

The AESVs were developed with support from the national robotics program and various government agencies, authorities said.

The vehicles were also modified from the existing mechanical sweepers with multiple sensors on all sides of the vehicles and computer units in the cab.

The NTU consortium unit is fully electric and emits less noise than conventional sweepers, while producing no carbon emissions.

AESV unit jointly developed by NTU, Enway, SembWaste and Wong Fong

The AESV (Autonomous Environmental Service Vehicle) unit jointly developed by NTU, Enway, SembWaste and Wong Fong. (Photo: National Environment Agency)

Its operation can be shifted late into the night or early in the morning, thus avoiding rush hour and optimizing road use.

The vehicle’s public road trials were tested at NTU’s Center of Excellence for Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Research (CETRAN) in small-scale test bench environments.

The other AESV unit was designed and developed by ST Engineering in collaboration with 800 Super.

AESV unit - jointly developed by ST Engineering and 800 Super

The AESV (Autonomous Environmental Service Vehicle) unit jointly developed by ST Engineering and 800 Super. (Photo: National Environment Agency)

Compared to conventional sweepers, the unit saves up to 60 percent in water consumption.

It is also equipped with a suite of sensors that provides comprehensive obstacle detection that allows the vehicle to sense its surroundings to navigate safely during sweeping operations and on the move.

The ST Engineering consortium unit has completed scenario-based testing of public roads in a north under light traffic conditions.

Patrick Pang, CTO of NEA, said: “The start of road testing of autonomous environmental service vehicles marks a key milestone in its R&D journey, which aims to increase the workforce in the industry. environmental services, in particular in the cleaning sector. ”

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