New $53 million laboratory for robotics and autonomous systems launched at NTU

SINGAPORE - Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and ST Engineering jointly launched a laboratory on Thursday, which will be used to develop advanced robotics and autonomous systems.

The new laboratory, called the ST Engineering-NTU Corporate Laboratory, is aimed at developing robotic systems that can do search-and-rescue missions, as well as those that can reduce reliance on manpower.

Two main research areas will be in airport precision and airside technology. This could, for instance, be systems that can manage luggage transfer and cargo handling at airports, and better intelligence support for crisis management.

Inventions in these areas could be piloted at an airport terminal here in two to three years.

There will be $53 million in funding from NTU, ST Engineering and the National Research Foundation's (NRF) Corporate Laboratory@University Scheme, which supports the setting up of key laboratories through public-private partnerships.

NTU Provost Professor Freddy Boey said the corporate lab would allow the development of "robust and practical solutions that will benefit society, ease manpower challenges and create higher value jobs for Singaporeans".

ST Engineering president and chief executive Tan Pheng Hock said the robotics and autonomous systems will be applied to various areas such as healthcare, urban developments, transportation, environmental conservation as well as defence and homeland security.

"These will be solutions that will improve and impact our everyday lives," he said.

The laboratory was launched officially by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the Chairman of NRF.

He said technology is increasingly being tapped to make up for shortfalls in the workforce in many countries worldwide, so developing intelligent systems and robotics solutions serve a "real need for both the economy and society".