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TNO and NTU Singapore confirm research collaboration in Autonomous Vehicles

04 Oct 2017

The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and Nanyang Technical University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have announced to start their collaboration  on Autonomous Vehicles (AV’s) by signing a Research Collaboration Agreement (RCA). The collaboration was formalized today by a joint signature ceremony between CETRAN (the Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of Autonomous Vehicles - NTU) and TNO.

The RCA was signed in Singapore by Professor Subodh Mhaisalkar, Director of the Energy Research Institute @ NTU, and Peter van Hooft, Director of the TNO representation in Singapore. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Mrs. Margriet Vonno, the Ambassador of Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Niels de Boer, Program Director CETRAN and Mr. Wim Nagtegaal, Member of the Board and Chief Operations Officer TNO.

Towards functional & operational safety and security of autonomous vehicles

Singapore has expressed its ambitions to become the world’s first Smart Nation. Autonomous Vehicles are a key element in this strategy, leading to safer roads, less congestion, a reduction of emissions and a lower dependency on the availability of qualified resources. With the expected introduction of autonomous vehicles in Singapore, it is essential to develop test scenarios for a safe deployment of AV’s on public roads.

CETRAN, launched in 2016, was established to be the Centre of Excellence that supports the Singapore Land Transport Authority in the development of test requirements and standards that enable a safe, large scale deployment of autonomous vehicles in Singapore. Amongst other facilities, an outdoor test track is scheduled to open later this year. TNO will contribute its STREETWISE scenario based methodology for development, validation and homologation of autonomous driving, enabling public road scenario generation and virtual testing based on real-life data. The results of the collaboration aims to accelerate the safe introduction autonomous vehicles both in Singapore and The Netherlands.

Developing safety standards for Singapore

The research collaboration consists of a program addressing the operational and functional safety and security of autonomous vehicles (AV). To ensure safe operations of AV’s, it is necessary to obtain data representing Singapore’s real-life traffic conditions, assess how AVs behave in these traffic conditions and investigate the response of other traffic. Verifying this by selective testing on test tracks and contributing to improved behavior and safety of AVs completes the cycle. Functional safety will be assessed based on automotive standards as a reference (e.g. ISO 26262) and focus will be on identifying hazardous events, creating clear safety goals and safety requirements.

The objective of the collaboration is reached by application of TNO’s STREETWISE methodology to CETRAN test scenario’s, verifying the effectiveness and enhancing the capability of the STREETWISE methodology in the Singapore context. CETRAN benefits of the collaboration with TNO as it accelerates building up its scenario database.

TNO bringing leading European automotive expertise to Singapore

TNO has achieved a leading position in Europe in connected and automated driving solutions and methodologies; it established the largest Connected Vehicles (V2X) testbed in Europe (2009), leading to the first connected automated passenger car platooning test on public roads (2012) and the first live truck platooning demonstrations (2015) on a public road. TNO’s track record combined with CETRAN’s leading position in AV developments and the various AV initiatives in Singapore, creates a strong proposition for the realisation of Singapore’s Smart Nation ambitions. Furthermore, this extended partnership with NTU will accelerate Smart Mobility innovations and is expected to create new innovation and business opportunities for both countries. TNO’s Principal Scientist Dr. Jeroen Ploeg and Scientist Erwin de Gelder will support the development of STREETWISE in Singapore through a 2 year engagement with NTU.

According to Niels de Boer, Program Director CETRAN: “TNO is a unique organization with its triple helix collaboration model between government, industry and academia as part of its DNA. This specific partnership on AV safety case testing and simulation supports NTU to build a credible engine that will achieve our strategic goals.”

“A strong relationship with a highly ranked local University is essential for TNO succeeding in international collaboration.” Wim Nagtegaal, COO TNO, adds. “I am convinced this agreement is a great way to expand our collaboration, jointly developing the safe implementation of Autonomous Vehicles in an urban environment, with expected results applicable both to Singapore and The Netherlands. TNO will contribute to this mutual goal by sharing our advanced knowledge of online simulation, and through our STREETWISE methodology.’’

Ranked 11th in the world, NTU has also been ranked the world’s top young university for the last four years running. The University’s main campus has been named one of the Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.

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