SINGAPORE: Smart wheelchairs, autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) for the delivery of food and cargo documents, as well as a hands-free fare gate were some of the innovative ideas on display at a technology showcase held in conjunction with the 23rd ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting on Thursday (Oct 12).
Called the Future of Transport showcase, the technology initiatives provide a glimpse into Singapore’s vision for the future of air, land and sea transport.
The hands-free fare gate is part of a proof-of-concept trial that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is embarking on to gain a better understanding of the technology, equipment and services needed to upgrade the current automatic fare collection system.
The system works by using radio frequency identification technology (RFID) to detect fare cards and deduct the correct fare.
With this hands-free system, commuters will just have to wear an RFID, or bluetooth-enabled, fare card to be able to move through fare gates without having to tap in or out.
This seamless ticketing experience will benefit commuters with disabilities, a LTA representative told Channel NewsAsia, and will be tested out at “one or two” MRT stations next year.
Meanwhile, at ground-handling firm SATS, a food delivery AGV “Dolly” helps catering staff to move multiple food trolleys from the kitchens to the airport lounges in a single trip.
Each vehicle, which travels an average of 500m for one trip at a speed of up to 6kmh, can transport up to 500kg. Deliveries can now be made by one person, compared to how six catering staff were previously required to move these food trolleys over the same distance three times a day.
Rolled out at Changi Airport Terminals 1, 2 and 3 since June, "Dolly" has been a boost to productivity, a manager at SATS Catering Haja Alaudeenvajid told Channel NewsAsia.
In particular, the AGV, which uses sensor technology, has helped to lighten the work load of older workers who may find it more difficult than their younger co-workers to move multiple food trolleys.
A smart wheelchair system that allows staff to move multiple wheelchairs autonomously at the touch of a button is also being tested, along with a cargo document delivery AGV.
The latter transports documents to a centralised location for easy distribution to the aircraft. Fitted with a combination of sensors, such as radio detection and ranging (RADAR) sensors and cameras, the AGV is able to navigate obstacles and recognise traffic light signals.
“Technology will help as it takes away some of the dangerous aspects of jobs, like lifting heavy loads,” said Mr Donald Lum, assistant vice president of technology at SATS. “In the process, our older workers get to up-skill by interacting with technology … This also helps us to attract younger talent to the sector.”
Hosted by Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, ministers from the other ASEAN member states also visited booths with presentations on Singapore’s vision for autonomous vehicles, as well as how the Next Generation Port at Tuas will leverage autonomous technology, data analytics and digital technology to increase efficiency, safety and security.