PM Lee Hsien Loong made a speech at the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre Groundbreaking Ceremony on 13 October 2020, in the presence of Mr Sung Yun-mo, Minister of Trade, Industry & Energy, Republic of Korea and Mr Chung Eui-sun, Executive Vice Chairman, Hyundai.
He opened by mentioning the history Hyundai has with Singapore. “Singapore’s relationship with Hyundai goes back a long way. It started when Hyundai Engineering and Construction (HDEC) helped us reclaim land at Pulau Tekong in 1981, nearly 40 years ago.”
“As for Hyundai Motor the first Hyundai cars appeared on our roads in the mid-1980s.”
“First Facility of its kind in the world”
The Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre is the first facility of its kind in the world. It will allow Hyundai to develop new automotive technologies, including the production of electric cars. The new facility will be located in Jurong Innovation District, which already houses a vibrant ecosystem of researchers, technology partners and factories of the future.
The PM added “In fact, you will be neighbours with the NTU Smart Campus, which aims to be a living testbed of tech-enabled solutions like electric vehicles. I hope that this will make it easier for your discussions to bear fruit, and for Singapore technology to power Hyundai cars all over the world.”
The new Innovation Centre will enable Hyundai to pilot new manufacturing models, to meet the demand for mass personalisation of cars through small-scale factories in urban areas. It is an investment of almost $400 million, and may produce up to 30,000 vehicles per year by 2025, five years from now.
Singapore’s drive for autonomous and electric vehicle roll out
Singapore has also been developing plans for autonomous and electric vehicle research and development.
“Singapore’s goal is to have all our vehicles run on cleaner energy by 2040, in line with our Paris Agreement commitments, so that our air is cleaner, and Singaporeans can have a better quality of life. Earlier this year, we announced plans to catalyse Electric Vehicle demand, and to build Electric Vehicle infrastructure like charging points ahead of demand. Now we are taking another step to anchor the value chain here with Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Centre, as the first Electric Vehicle manufacturing facility in Singapore.”
“Automotive activities are becoming viable in Singapore once again. Electric Vehicles have a different supply chain, fewer mechanical parts and more electronics, which plays to Singapore’s strengths. That is why global companies producing automotive electronics like Delphi and Infineon are already in Singapore and have been here for some time.”
“We hope this will open up new growth areas for our economy, and create exciting jobs for Singaporeans, for example Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) engineers, data scientists, cobot technicians and digital supply chain strategists. These job titles did not even exist a few years ago, but these jobs are now on the cutting edge, and demand new skills. Young Singaporeans may not have these skills in the first instance, but they will learn from the engineers that you bring here from Korea and elsewhere in the world, as we did in the past. And over time, I am confident that we will build up a Singaporean workforce with these skills.”
The Prime Minister noted that the HMGICS is an important milestone in the economic relationship between Singapore and South Korea. It will pave the way for more Korean companies to invest in Singapore, partner with local suppliers and SMEs, and collaborate with universities and research institutes.
He added that Government authorities and agencies such as EDB, JTC, ESG and A*STAR will all work closely with Hyundai to support these partnerships. He said that “Hyundai Motor is already in discussions with NTU and A*STAR, for example, to use AI in autonomous driving.”
Under an initial 12-month pilot, Singapore’s 3rd largest bank confirmed that they had launched a programme allowing customers to sign electronic documents using the Singpass app. The bank said it will first test the use of electronic signature services with a set of its retail and corporate customers.
Some of the transactions the pilot will cover include forms for individual wealth planning services and other corporate applications. After the pilot ends, the service will extend to more of its products and services for retail and wholesale segments in Singapore.
The bank also plans to expand its electronic signature capability to the ASEAN region from 2022. Once rolled out across all markets, electronic signatures will cut down the use of more than 2 million paper forms a year, said the bank. This is in line with the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s green fintech push in recent months. For markets without a national digital identity platform, the bank will use electronic signatures and authenticate the customer through two-factor authentication.
The bank said it is the first in Singapore to pilot the use of the Government Technology Agency’s “Sign with Singpass” to confirm transactions or product applications using a customer’s digital signature. The digital signature is identifiable and uniquely linked to the person who signs. During the digital signing process, only a cryptographically random, indecipherable code will be shared with the bank’s document management platform to confirm that the customer has signed the document, thus ensuring the confidentiality of personal data, the bank added.
As reported by OpenGov Asia, since November last year, SingPass users can use the new “Sign with SingPass” feature to electronically sign contracts, agreements and other legal documentation. This feature will be progressively rolled out by GovTech’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Assurity Trusted Solutions Pte Ltd (ATS), in collaboration with eight digital signing application providers.
The signed document is platform agnostic, such that the validated signature can be viewed with the user’s preferred system. Digital signatures made with “Sign with SingPass” use certificates issued by ATS, the National Certification Authority. Upon ATS’ accreditation under Singapore’s Electronic Transactions Act, signatures made using “Sign with SingPass” will be regarded as secure electronic signatures.
The bank’s head of group technology and operations said that as more customers take to the convenience of managing their banking needs online, banks must ensure that they offer them a seamless and safe digital experience. She added that in 2018, they were the first bank in Singapore to digitalise all consumer banking product applications. Today, they are aiming to build on earlier efforts with their digital signature initiative. The initiative will not only increase the convenience for the customers but also remove one of the roadblocks – the need for physical signatures – in fully digitalising the documentation process.
The Senior Director for National Digital Identity of GovTech said that they are delighted that a bank will be piloting “Sign with Singpass” for its suite of digital services. The bank’s integration of “Sign with Singpass” is a significant step towards offering a more secure and efficient process for customers. The agency affirmed that it would continue to work with industry partners to build more beneficial services and establish new digitally enabled ways of doing business.
Today, SingPass has evolved to provide seamless and convenient access to over 1,000 digital services offered by some 250 government agencies and private organisations. There are now over 2.1 million users of the SingPass Mobile app since its launch.
U.S. programmers further developed their ai enabled housing solution, an application to help automate Dallas-Fort Worth’s Section 8 voucher program. The app uses Artificial Intelligence (AI), and automation to help voucher holders find rental units, property owners complete contracting and housing authorities conduct inspections. The software and mobile app were released in partnership with the Dallas Housing Authority, which gave access to data from some 16,000 Section 8 voucher holders.
AI has been used in a host of algorithms in medicine, banking and other major industries. But as it has proliferated, studies have shown that AI can be biased against minorities. In housing, AI has helped perpetuate segregation and discrimination. The creators of the app were worried that the AI would promote bias, so they tweaked it so that tenants could search for apartments using their voucher number alone, without providing any other identifying information.
As AI is adopted by more industries and government agencies, U.S. lawmakers want to strengthen and update laws to guard against racially discriminatory algorithms – especially in the absence of federal rules. Since 2019, more than 100 bills related to AI and automated decision systems have been introduced in nearly two dozen states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This year, lawmakers in at least 16 states proposed creating panels to review AI’s impact, promote public and private investment in AI, or address transparency and fairness in AI development.
A bill in California would be the first to require developers to evaluate the privacy and security risks of their software, as well as assess their products’ potential to generate inaccurate, unfair, biased or discriminatory decisions. Under the proposed law, the California Department of Technology would have to approve software before it could be used in the public sector.
A lawyer described algorithms such as the ai app as a gatekeeper to an opportunity that can either perpetuate segregation and redlining or help to end them. He also praised the developers for their decision to omit a person’s name. However, the government cannot rely on small groups of people making decisions that can essentially affect thousands. The government needs to audit these systems to ensure they are integrating equity metrics in ways that do not unfairly disadvantage people.
The app’s developers are sure it would pass any state-mandated test for algorithmic discrimination and it has already been a huge success in Dallas and beyond. The Dallas Housing Authority has used the app to cut the average wait time for an apartment inspection from 15 days to one. Since its launch, Dallas and more than a dozen other housing agencies have added some 20,000 Section 8 units from landlords who were not participating in the program because of the long inspection wait times.
Dallas Housing Authority partnered with the developers to come up with some technology advancements to their workflows and automation so that they could respond in a more timely manner to business partners. The housing authority wanted to ensure that their partners the dealy as a lost lead in terms of working with the voucher program.
The real promise of AI in the housing space is that it may eventually produce greater fairness and equity in ways that we may not have possible before. Lawmakers are keen to make sure that the biases of the analogue world are not repeated in the AI and machine-learning world.
U.S. researchers have been creating AI for a multitude of purposes, such as an AI that can have free-flowing conversations. As reported by OpenGov Asia, the newest conversational artificial intelligence (AI) model, called Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) aims to replace artificial, robotic conversations with AI, with more natural dialogues. LaMDA can engage a conversation in a free-flowing way about a seemingly endless number of topics. It is an ability that could unlock more natural ways of interacting with technology and entirely new categories of helpful applications.
The researchers are developing several qualities in LaMDA, including sensibleness, specificity, “interestingness” by assessing whether responses are insightful, unexpected or witty. They also want LaMDA to stick to facts and are investigating ways to ensure LaMDA’s responses are not just compelling but correct.
A wastewater treatment plant being built to service a smart city development in western Sydney will use digital twin systems that monitor temperature and moisture to produce recycled water on demand for greening, cooling and household uses.
Construction of the Sydney Science Park recycling plant started last week at Luddenham within the planned Western Sydney Aerotropolis. The plant will eventually be able to produce 2.4 million litres of recycled water a day, enough for 40,000 people, but that has the capacity to be scaled up, according to Sydney Water’s growth planning and community frameworks manager.
The official stated that while water recycling is traditionally done at large centralised plants, the SSP plant will be located in the community it will service and sit within the urban form of the Science Park. The plant will use a membrane bioreactor system, which the official makes for a smaller footprint and less noise and smell.
Sydney Science Park’s smart systems include digital twins which will allow the plant will interact with the environment via moisture and temperature sensors to inform the amount of recycled water that will be produced and deployed. “So if you’re coming up for a heatwave on Sunday, you’re not sitting there storing the tanks in the water for Sunday, you’re getting it into the ground now,” the official said.
The system’s computer modelling coupled with real-life environment predicting what’s going to happen to determine the operation of the plant and how it’s producing its water. Excess wastewater that isn’t used for the Science Park will be piped to Sydney Water’s St Marys treatment facility.
Urban living lab
The Science Park, being delivered by a private firm on 287 hectares of land as a mixed-use smart city, has been designated as an urban living lab by the CSIRO. The Urban Living Lab concept is based on using local community knowledge coupled with scientific expertise to try new ways of doing things and measure outcomes in a real place. As a designated CSIRO Urban Living Lab, Sydney Science Park aims to create a more liveable, sustainable and resilient city, and water is at the forefront of this.
To partner with Sydney Water and have recycled water being used not only in homes but in public spaces is a first for greenfield development and will create a much greener and cooler environment at Sydney Science Park.
Sydney Water’s Managing Director noted that the partnership meant Sydney Water would be able to provide sustainable and resilient water services as well as trialling new smart technologies for future use.
Sydney Water currently has 14 water recycling sites and is investing $1.3 billion on infrastructure projects in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis Growth Area between 2020 and 2022. It and will have invested about $3 billion in infrastructure across Western Sydney Parkland City by 2026.
The Smart city strategic framework of Sydney identifies the 5 outcomes to be achieved with smart, ethical and secure use of data and technology, underpinned by smart infrastructure:
- Supporting connected and empowered communities. The city government co-creates the design and provision of city services and facilities with local communities. And empowers them to make more effective decisions by using open data and having the skills and tools to innovate and thrive.
- Fuelling global competitiveness and attracting and retaining global talent. Digital disruption is embraced to foster an innovation ecosystem, cultivate a culture of experimentation and sustain Sydney’s position as a global magnet for talent.
- Futureproofing environment and bolstering resilience. Data is used purposefully to monitor, predict and manage city conditions and the impacts of shocks and stresses on our city and community. New technologies that accelerate the city’s progress to a carbon-neutral future are embraced.
- Cultivating vibrant, liveable places. Data and technology are used to help optimise street space allocation and prioritise active transport, improve the planning, building and maintenance of infrastructure, assets and systems, and enhance the experience of the physical city.
- Providing customer-centric efficient services. Data is used to understand the community’s needs and preferences to enable the provision of joined-up, personalised and responsive services. Smart technology and operating models are embraced to provide the efficient services local communities expect.
The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) plans to use Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technologies to limit road accidents and improve passenger safety in buses. According to a report, the corporation recently floated a tender for the implementation of an AI-powered Collision Warning System (CWS) and Driver Drowsiness System (DDS) for 1,044 buses. CWS will provide features like forward-looking collision warnings (FLCW), lane departure warnings (LDW), and virtual bumper. It will also generate real-time alerts. This is probably for the first time in the country a state-run bus corporation is using technology on a large scale to reduce accidents. Other state-run bus corporations are also waiting to adopt this system.
The tender is likely to be finalised by the end of June 2021, the report said. KSRTC officials said the FLCW system will identify an impending collision and inform the driver that they have entered an unsafe distance zone. An official noted that this would help the driver prepare to take the necessary action to avoid a collision. The system will provide real-time alerts to warn the driver against impending collisions. AI-based camera sensors will provide the detection of a vehicle from a sufficient range of at least 150m at any speed so that it can effectively warn the driver.
When minimum safe distance is not maintained, an alert will be generated. This minimum safe distance is based on a calculation of the time-to-collision (TTC) with the vehicle ahead including 2/3 wheelers, pedestrians, and cyclists. The officials added that the alarm will be initiated at a TTC of up to 2.5 to 3 seconds, be operational at a vehicle speed range of up to at least 120kmph, and generate both visual and audible alarms. It will also notify the driver when lane marks are not available.
DDS will check its drivers from dozing off at the wheel. It will monitor the driver’s eye movements and sound a warning alarm in case they appear sleepy. AI-based CCTVs will watch the facial behaviour of the driver. It will also alert the KSRTC central control room if the driver ignored the alert. This will be helpful for night services, said an official.
In April, OpenGov Asia reported that the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar (IIT-Ropar) had developed an algorithm for driver drowsiness detection using machine learning and computer vision. The researchers said they used computer vision algorithms to extract facial features such as eye closure and yawning as well as machine learning techniques to effectively detect driver’s alertness. It is an industrial and academic challenge to develop drowsiness detection technologies.
Multiple techniques have been developed in recent years. One method is where the driver’s operation and vehicle behaviour can be monitored by the steering wheel movement, accelerator or brake patterns, vehicle speed, lateral acceleration, and lateral displacement. Another set of techniques focuses on monitoring the physiological characteristics of the driver such as heart rate, pulse rate, and electroencephalography. The third set is based on computer vision systems, which can recognise the facial changes occurring during drowsiness.
The first method is limited by the type and model of the car. The second method though with more accurate results has widely been downplayed due to the impracticality in deploying it on a large scale, as well as its intrusive nature. The third method is a very promising one, which the researchers have followed and developed a model on the same.
An AI company in New Zealand recently announced the launch of its new digital platform, an AI-powered end-to-end solution designed to help organisations manage the delivery of software-driven business outcomes. It includes AI-powered analytics, deeper insights into value streams, release management, risk management, and software delivery predictability, as well as pre-built, smart integrations for a variety of solutions that connect the entire lifecycle and provide visibility and automation.
The platform gathers data from all phases of the software development lifecycle to establish a strong data repository that has all of the information needed to acquire important financial insights and enable intelligent orchestration. With these capabilities, the platform enables enterprises to continuously and intelligently improve the entire development value stream, from ideation to customer delivery.
It provides end-to-end visibility and forward-looking analytics, allowing businesses to align software development teams with strategic business goals and truly leverage technology and data to make better business decisions. Businesses can transform traditional project teams, which are often structured around and focused on outputs and features, into cross-functional value stream teams, which are structured around customer-centric value, using Value Stream Management (VSM) and the Digital.ai Platform.
A forum on artificial intelligence identified key AI opportunities in the public, private and education sectors that New Zealand can invest in now to actively shape the effects on its collective future. Adopting Artificial Intelligence helps sectors from education to healthcare to citizen services to continuously adapt to market changes and customer needs and predict deliver better outcomes and services. Organisations and agencies can fully grasp the value of digitalisation, create higher efficiencies and boost productivity by leveraging artificial intelligence that scales operations in ways that humans cannot.
OpenGov Asia recently reported that New Zealand is set to adopt the world’s first Kiwi Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered insight generator system that aims to deliver richer, more accurate insights faster than ever before. The tech is an AI-powered super engine, revolutionising the speed and efficiency by which data is transformed into rich insightful knowledge. Comprised of AI tools and algorithms, the New Zealand-made market research insights product allows businesses to save hours in data analysis, dramatically improving productivity and allowing them to use their data smarter.
More than 1,200 enterprises around the world have accelerated their digital transformation initiatives, improved business outcomes and RoI from software investments, increased operational efficiency, and reduced risk with the Digital.ai Platform and associated solutions. Research indicates the global conversational AI platform market size is anticipated to grow from $4 billion in 2019 to $17 billion by 2025.
Artificial intelligence is now playing a critical role within the wider community in terms of enhancing efficiency and productivity, according to recent releases. It is the present and future efficiency driver for business and services around the world; one that is backed up by massive global investments. A report estimates that investment in AI, along with machine learning and robotic process automation technology, is set to reach $232 billion by 2025.
As businesses look for unique ways to capture the hearts and minds of consumers in the present contactless customer environment, robots, digital entities and virtual assistants are gaining ground. Currently, digital humans are already being deployed as brand ambassadors, digital influencers, customer support representatives and advisors across the entertainment, finance, banking, gaming, talent development and recruiting and health care industries.
The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi has announced it will launch a post-graduate programme in electric mobility. The masters in ‘Tech in Electric Mobility’ will be available in the upcoming academic session- 2021-22. The course is offered by the Centre for Automotive Research and Tribology (CART). According to a news report, the institute board recently approved the programme.
Candidates with a four-year bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, production engineering, mechatronics, automobile, and manufacturing science/engineering can apply. Also, GATE qualified in either electrical engineering (EE), mechanical engineering (ME), or production and industrial engineering (PI) disciplines will be eligible to apply for the two-year master’s degree programme, an IIT-Delhi statement noted.
Additionally, “sponsored candidates” from industry, academia, and government organisations will be encouraged to apply. The programme is multidisciplinary and will cover key aspects related to electric vehicles, including:
- Chargers/charging infrastructure
- Battery energy storage systems
- Battery management systems
- Reusability of energy storage elements, reliability, and automotive health monitoring,
- Automotive NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness)
- Vehicle dynamics
- Autonomous and connected vehicles
- Vehicular telematics
- Materials for electric vehicles, along with hands-on practice and design in laboratories
B K Panigrahi, Head, CART explained that the new PG program has been designed with the active participation of leading professionals from academia and industry. Moreover, CART is already actively engaged and working with many industries on forefront electric vehicle projects. The students will get the opportunity to work with state-of-art laboratory facilities and will also be able to work on various simulation software and HIL platforms.
The Centre for Automotive Research and Tribology at IIT-Delhi focuses on conducting high-end research and development in the area of battery-operated electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, storage, and alternate energy sources, autonomous and connected vehicles.
The adoption of electric mobility in India will be powered by new products launched by automakers and the effectiveness of government policies like the production-linked incentive scheme, a news report has said. Electric vehicle penetration is expected to be driven by stringent emission norms, incentive schemes, well-defined long-term policies, the standardisation of charging infrastructure, and a structured approach to reduce dependency on imports. Phase two of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME-2), production-linked incentives, and government policies are expected to promote electric vehicle demand. Also, improve localisation, increase cost competitiveness, and develop a complete ecosystem.
The report further added that the government has been urging vehicle manufacturers to develop and manufacture electric vehicles to reduce vehicular emissions and curb oil imports. The union government has also been incentivising the purchase of electric vehicles through FAME-2. Further, the government is focusing on driving the adoption of electric vehicles in the two and three-wheeler segments where the price gap has been narrowing.
Battery manufacturing capacities are expected over the medium term as lithium-ion battery cost stands at 40-50% of raw material cost and localisation is necessary to achieve cost competitiveness. The government’s PLI scheme for Advanced Chemistry Cells (ACC) should encourage investments. As electric vehicle demand improves over the medium term, capacities would be commissioned, through investments from OEMs, international ancillaries, and domestic ancillaries and startups, either on their own or through consortiums. Due to economies of scale and technological advancements, battery costs are expected to decrease to below US$100/KWH over the medium term, the report concluded.
As the e-payments rise in popularity, fewer banknotes are being issued, ATM withdrawals are declining and fewer cheques being used, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) via news reports. These come amid efforts to promote e-payments, such as online fund transfer services as a convenient alternative and a way to reduce the environmental impact of using physical notes and cheques, said the MAS in its first sustainability report.
The number of S$2, S$5, S$10 and S$50 banknotes issued fell 24 per cent last year from the previous year. Cash withdrawals at ATMs also dropped by 16 per cent to 172 million transactions, while 36.4 million cheques were cleared, a 23 per cent decline.
The agency emphasised that they are promoting the adoption of e-payments in Singapore that will help to slow the demand for physical currency, whose production and processing have a significant environmental impact. The MAS is also reducing the issuance of new notes during festive periods.
Around 100 million new notes are issued for the Chinese New Year and other festive periods every year. However, most of them are not needed by the public for daily use, especially the S$2 note, and the majority are returned to the MAS after each Chinese New Year. This is a waste of resources and results in unnecessary carbon emissions, the central bank said. Around 330 tonnes of carbon emissions are generated by producing new notes each Chinese New Year.
Looking ahead, MAS said it is progressively reducing the issuance of new S$2 notes for the Chinese New Year. It will also continue to promote e-gifting as an alternative and is encouraging financial technology firms to develop such solutions.
Other efforts to be more sustainable include working with its vendors to manage the carbon and environmental impact of printing currency notes. Steps taken by appointed printers include sourcing for renewable energy and printing carbon-neutral notes through carbon offsetting.
In the inaugural report, the central bank also laid out its carbon footprint over the past three financial years. It had engaged an external consultant to establish its carbon profile, which covers three areas:
- direct emissions primarily from fire extinguishing agents.
- indirect emissions from electricity usage by its offices in Singapore and overseas and,
- emissions from corporate activities like business air travel and waste incineration.
Indirect emissions from outsourced currency operations, such as currency production, processing and transportation, are excluded as MAS is still working to obtain and review emissions data from its vendors. It expects these emissions to contribute significantly to its total carbon footprint when they are eventually included. Preliminary estimates indicate that they could account for up to 40 per cent to 60 per cent of MAS’ overall carbon profile.
For now, indirect emissions from electricity usage and business air travel form the bulk of MAS’ carbon profile. It generated 8,968 tonnes of carbon emissions in the 2018/19 financial year, before trimming that to 8,225 tonnes in the following year. For both financial years, electricity and business air travel accounted for more than 90 per cent of these emissions. Total carbon emissions fell by nearly 50 per cent to 4,383 tonnes last year but the agency noted that it was an aberration due largely to air travel being a no-go during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moving forward, the central bank said it will continue to track its usage of electricity, water and paper. Since 2013, it has managed to cut energy and water consumption by 23 per cent and 5 per cent, exceeding or meeting the respective public sector targets of 15 per cent and 5 per cent. MAS is positive that they will continue with ongoing efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their currency operations.