The research programme will be conducted at the Future Mobility Research Lab located on the NTU campus, which is also BMW Group’s first joint lab in Southeast Asia. Both parties will be fronting a combined S$1.3 million to support the new research projects, on top of an initial S$5.5 million which was allocated in 2013 to fund the joint lab.
With the new research programme two new areas - Electromobility in Asia and Smart Materials, will be focused on together with the original three research topics currently being worked on - Advanced Battery, Driver Enhancement and Intelligent Mobility.
Both BMW i vehicles provided will be used as research platforms for the Future Mobility Research Lab and will be used to conduct research on real-life driver behaviour. Additionally, in-depth data on vehicle performance will also be collected during the research. The two cars will also conduct on-road trials of new technologies such as a mobile application that can accurately predict traffic and estimated end-to-end travelling time.
Here are the goals for the two new research projects focused on at the NTU-BMW joint lab:
Electromobility in Asia: The main goal of this project is to find out how drivers interact with BMW i vehicles in real life, allowing researches to gain insights on how electric vehicles can be made more relevant for global megacities. Study topics include how emerging technologies like fast charging, wireless charging and smart assistant driving technologies will impact the consumer.
Smart Materials: As touchscreen interfaces become more commonplace, this project looks to make them more tactile, enabling buttons to appear on interactive surfaces and touch screens when needed through research on various shape memory materials and dielectric polymers.
As for previous breakthroughs from the Future Mobility Research Lab set up in April 2013:
Advanced Battery: New battery materials are being experimented on which is important in extending the range of an electric car and enabling faster charging times.
Driver Enhancement: Current driver assistance technologies rely on sensor systems which are independent of each other. The driver enhancement system developed adapt driver assistance systems depending on the driver’s present condition.
Intelligent Mobility: An app which is based on an intelligent routing system calculates individual driving style and current real-time traffic conditions to more accurately estimate arrival time at the destination. It is also capable of analysing the parking situation around the destination.
Mr. Axel Pannes, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia said, “Through the relentless efforts of the dedicated researchers, we have already made some important findings through the earlier research topics in a short period of just two years. With the expanded research scope on Electromobility in Asia and Smart Materials, more invaluable knowledge will be gained by both parties. Further, the knowledge will also be transferred to Singapore’s academia and broaden their technical understanding of modern full-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. It will definitely forge a stronger technological partnership between the BMW Group and NTU,”
Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s Chief of Staff and Vice President (Research), said the new research programme will build on the research successes of the NTU-BMW joint lab. He added, “The new research programme will further exploit the synergy between BMW Group’s leadership and expertise in automotive sciences and NTU’s leading research in sustainability and clean technologies. The NTU-BMW joint lab has already made important advancements in areas such as new battery materials that can extend the range of an electric vehicle and innovative driver assistive technologies to greatly enhance safety.”
“NTU is one of the eight top universities across the globe that BMW has established a strategic partnership with. The BMW i3 and i8 will be used by BMW and NTU scientists to develop and test innovative technologies in real-life conditions and this new research programme extends NTU’s efforts in developing future mobility solutions with global impact,” said Prof Lam.