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$9m “people-centric” smart city research project for Singapore

The National University of Singapore and ST Engineering are collaborating on the multi-year digital technologies programme to address evolving urban challenges.

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The research will help further strengthen Singapore's position as a Smart Nation
The research will help further strengthen Singapore's position as a Smart Nation

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and ST Engineering are joining forces on a $9m, multi-year digital technologies research programme to help build a “people-centric, smart future” for Singapore.

 

It will focus on smart city technologies but also cover smart maintenance, repairs and overhaul (MRO). The research will cover the five areas of: resource optimisation and scheduling; prescriptive analytics; decision- and sense-making; reasoning engine and machine learning; as well as digital twin.

 

Present and future needs

 

In a statement, the two parties say the research areas support ST Engineering’s focus on developing differentiated and people-centric, smart city solutions that meet the present and future needs of cities around the world.

 

The interdisciplinary research areas are also aligned with NUS’ endeavours as a driving force behind smart city innovations, using its deep expertise that spans multiple domains and faculties.

 

The research will be led by associate professor Aaron Chia from the NUS Faculty of Engineering’s Department of Industrial Systems Engineering and Management as its director. Jinson Xu, head of the Data Analytics Strategic Technology Centre at ST Engineering, will be co-director.

 

The programme will first focus on two key research projects to lay the foundations for digital transformation and Industry 4.0:

 

Enterprise digital platform (EDP): As the backbone of smart city solutions, the EDP is a flexible, modular and scalable artificial intelligence (AI) platform that will support all the AI methodological areas, enabling the synthesis of disparate data sources and other internal or external systems, to orchestrate cross-vertical data and insights from customers and partners.

 

All AI models derived from research projects under this programme will be integrated onto a common AI engine stacked within the EDP, paving the way for future-ready platforms that catalyse technology transformation and create new information-based revenue streams.

“As Singapore advances its position as a Smart Nation, having the right enterprise architecture to support those goals will determine if true digital transformation can be achieved”

Urban traffic flow management: researchers will develop algorithms that alleviate traffic congestion by using a holistic urban traffic flow smoothening approach based on traffic data analytics and AI technologies.

 

Examples include traffic state estimation and prediction, in addition to effective active traffic control and management strategies identification and implementation. This will have future applications as autonomous vehicle technologies, 5G infrastructure and machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies start to mature and proliferate.

 

“As Singapore advances its position as a Smart Nation, having the right enterprise architecture to support those goals will determine if true digital transformation can be achieved,” said Professor Chen Tsuhan, NUS deputy president.

 

He added: “Over the years, NUS and ST Engineering have enjoyed a close and productive relationship. This new collaboration will combine NUS’ expertise in the science of cities with ST Engineering’s industry knowledge to co-create people-centric smart city solutions that will form the foundational systems to bring about not just impactful, but radical, change to the lives of people in Singapore and the world.”

 

Harris Chan, chief digital officer and chief technology officer, ST Engineering, said the collaboration with NUS will allow the university to delve deeper into the application of AI in new domains “to catalyse” the pipeline of next-generation technologies to address evolving urban challenges that cities will face.

 

He said: “ST Engineering and NUS bring unique strengths to this partnership and we are confident that this programme will provide our research and engineering talents with opportunities to enrich their knowledge and deepen their expertise through real-world applications, paving the way for the development of impactful innovations that create more vibrant and sustainable cities of the future.”

 

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