Volvo Buses and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have signed a co-operation agreement on a research and development programme for autonomous, electric, 12-metre long buses. The programme is part of the Land Transport Authority of Singapore’s drive to create new solutions for tomorrow’s sustainable public transport.

For Volvo Group, this will be the first autonomous application in public transportation. The Volvo Group has been conducting research into autonomous transport solutions for several years. The company has demonstrated concept vehicles for applications in confined areas such as mines, quarries and for transport of newly-harvested sugarcane in Brazil. One more step towards the future was taken last year with an autonomous concept truck for hub-to-hub transportations in semi-confined areas such as harbours and dedicated lanes on highways. Volvo Group has also presented an autonomous battery-electric load carrier.

“We are seeing fast-growing interest in both autonomous and electric vehicles in cities all over the world. Together with NTU, one of the world’s leading universities of technology, and Singapore and its Land Transport Authority, we now have the possibility of testing various solutions under realistic conditions. The Technology developed in Singapore can contribute to future autonomous applications by Volvo Buses,” says Håkan Agnevall, president of Volvo Buses.

The basis of the programme consists of two-all-electric 12-metre Volvo 7900 electric buses, of the same type that Volvo Buses already delivers today. Volvo and NTU will build the autonomous driving solution on Volvo’s platform.”

“Our electric buses already make it possible for cities to improve their air quality and reduce noise levels. With our system approach to electro-mobility we, in addition, open up new ways for urban planning. When developing autonomous solutions for public transport, we can really leverage the Volvo Group expertise in this rapidly developing technology field,”Agnevall said.

One of the autonomous electric buses in the programme, will be used on Singapore’s advanced new test facility for autonomous vehicles and the second bus will be used for tests in the bus depot. The co-operative programme between LTA, Volvo Buses and NTU is now underway and will initially last for two years. The jointly developed autonomous electric buses will arrive in Singapore at the beginning of 2019.