Pioneering French self-driving vehicle developer EasyMile has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with German automotive technology supplier Continental to launch a joint R&D initiative to create solutions for driverless mobility in Singapore.
A joint R&D team from Continental and EasyMile will commence work focusing on environmental perception, driving decision strategies, artificial intelligence (AI), and vehicle safety, as well as system integration.
The new team will develop new technology that can prepare autonomous vehicle (AV) technology for tests and on toward safe deployments on private grounds and public roads in the Singaporean metropolitan area.
During the inauguration of the R&D initiative, guests were able to participate in a demonstration of the electrically-powered Continental Urban moBility Experience (CUBE) development platform, powered by EasyMile software. The two companies are expanding an established and successful cooperation that began in 2017, when Continental became a minority shareholder and partner of the French company.
Singapore is a highly innovative city-state and a strong economical focal point within the whole Asia region. With a regulatory sandbox for AVs in place, Singapore has the flexibility to quickly adjust its legislative framework to support the fast pace of development of AV technology while safeguarding public safety.
Autonomous systems feature prominently in its plans to improve the transport system, with AVs in particular seen to have the potential to enhance first/last-mile connectivity between peoples’ homes and nearby public transportation nodes. Singapore is currently engaging in intensive dialog with leading companies to develop driverless systems as soon as possible to complement and maintain efficient urban mobility.
The Continental and EasyMile MoU is seen as part of a structured approach to AV testing on public roads in Singapore. The city already has a test center for AVs located in Jurong Innovation District and there are ongoing AV trials being conducted at One-North and Sentosa.
Singapore has also identified three towns for pilot deployment of AVs for public transport by the early 2020s. EasyMile has had a base in Singapore since its creation in 2014, with the very first commercial application of the company’s EZ10 flagship AV in Gardens by the Bay during 2016. The company is now the worldwide leader in terms of deployment of autonomous shuttles, with over 210 driverless projects in 24 countries.
“Our Singapore location is one of our largest R&D locations in Asia already,” noted Ralph Lauxmann, head of the automated driving project department at Continental. “With the joint autonomous driving R&D team we have expanded the network of our automated driving project department by another important location.
“Together with EasyMile we are proud to prepare a contribution to the Singapore Smart City Initiative. The results can also be used as a blueprint for the deployment of driverless systems in other regions of the world.”
Gilbert Gagnaire, CEO of EasyMile, confirmed, “I am delighted to further extend the already deep collaboration between Continental and EasyMile. Our joint R&D team in Singapore is an important step to accelerate the development of new technology for global markets, as well as to benefit of the advance and dynamism of Singapore’s autonomous driving ecosystem to further test our products.”