MW Group along with Nanyang Technological University
(NTU) announced a new electromobility research
programme on 29 June 2015. This will be held at the
Future Mobility Research Lab at NTU and involves the all-electric
BMW i3 and plug-in hybrid sports car BMW i8 that runs on both
electricity and petrol.
The launch ceremony was graced by Minister of State at
Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr Teo Ser Luck;
Minister President of Hesse and President of the Federal Council
of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr Volker Bouffier; and His
Excellency, Dr Michael Witter, Ambassador of the Federal Republic
of Germany to Singapore.
The Future Mobility Research Lab is BMW Group's first joint
lab in Southeast Asia and they will be providing the BMW i3 and
BMW i8 as research platforms.
Both partners will all together be providing S$1.3 million, in
addition to the initial S$5.5 million funding allocated to the joint
lab in 2013, to drive the new research projects.
This programme will target on two areas, Electromobility in
Asia and Smart Materials. This is on top of the original three
topics that the joint lab is working on: Advanced Battery, Driver
Enhancement and Intelligent Mobility.
The two BMW vehicles will be used to investigate real-life driver
behaviours and to collect in-depth data on vehicle performances.
New technologies such as mobile applications to accurately predict
traffic and estimate travelling time will be tested by the cars during
Mr. Axel Pannes, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia
said: "We are very satisfied with our partnership with NTU and
the establishment of the Future Mobility Research Lab, thanks
to the high level of competency from NTU's research staff and
"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," added Mr. Pannes.
NTU's Chief of Staff and Vice President (Research), Professor
Lam Khin Yong, said the new research programme will add on to
the research successes of the NTU-BMW joint lab.
"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.
Prime Minister of the Federal State of Hesse and President
of the German Bundesrat, Mr Volker Bouffier, said, "The new
electromobility research programme launched by NTU and BMW
emphasises the strong and fruitful bilateral relations between
Germany and Singapore in the fields of research. Certainly the
programme will further strengthen the ties on each side. Thus, to
study and develop key areas which relate to future transportation
will be a crucial factor on our way to a modern globalized world
based on sustainable development."
Director, Transport Engineering, Singapore Economic Development Board, Mr Tan Kong Hwee, said, "BMW's partnership
with NTU for the set-up of its Future Mobility Lab is testament
to the increasing interest in urban mobility and Singapore's
attractiveness for the conduct of research and development in
Electromobility in Asia
The Electromobility in Asia project aims to investigate how
drivers interact with the BMW vehicles in real life so as to better
comprehend user behaviour and to improve electric and plug-in
hybrid technology for the future.
Singapore, a densely-populated urban city state, will be a good
place to conduct research that allows the scientists to understand
how electric vehicles can be improved to become more relevant for
global megacities. Other topics that will be studied include how
emerging technologies like fast charging, wireless charging and
smart assistant driving technologies will impact the consumer.
With the increasing popularity of touchscreen interfaces used
in vehicles, there is a need to research how such interfaces can
be made more tactile, such as research in various shape memory
materials and dielectric polymers can allow scientists to possible
develop technologies to allow buttons to appear on interactive
surfaces and touch screens when required.
Mr Pannes added that Singapore is the perfect venue for the
BMW Group to conduct research on electromobility.
"In Singapore, the second most densely populated country
in the world, we anticipate that electric vehicles with its zero
tailpipe emissions and exhaust fumes will be a key player in the
transportation network of the future. The city-state also has
high connectivity and a tech-savvy population, which makes it
more receptive towards new cutting-edge technology. Further,
we believe Singapore has the potential to become a R&D hub for electromobility, especially with
its clearly expressed ambitions to
become a Smart Nation. We want
to play a contributive role in that,"
said Mr Pannes.
Future Mobility Research Lab Breakthroughs
The Future Mobility Research Lab
which was set up in April 2013, aims
to research and develop vital areas
relating to future transportation,
including Advanced Battery, Driver Enhancement, and Intelligent
After two years of intensive research, they have made several
significant findings in these areas:
- New battery materials are being experimented on, such as highvoltage
cathodes and anodes (the positive and negative poles
of a battery). This potentially doubles the energy density,
important for extending the range of an electric car as well
as allowing for faster charging times.
- Current sensor technologies can detect if a driver is sleepy or
alert as well as detect based on speed and direction of travel if
the vehicle is currently on a collision course with another
vehicle. However, these sensor systems are independent of each
other, and do not take into account the driverís present
condition to adapt to it.
- A driver enhancement system is currently being developed
to adjust to the driverís condition by changing the number of
assistance technologies deployed to assist the driver. It depends
on parameters such as the alertness of the driver, if he/she is
paying attention to traffic, and if traffic conditions around
the vehicle is congested or sparse.
- A mobile application that can better predict the traffic
conditions and accurately estimate arrival time at the
destination has been developed. This app is based on an
intelligent routing system that takes into account individual
driving style and current traffic situation based on real-time
traffic information. It also has a parking search system that
analyzes the parking conditions around the destination.
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