Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the French shipbuilder Naval Group, through its subsidiary Naval Group Far East, are collaborating to drive autonomous technologies for vessels and unmanned vehicles.
Two research agreements were inked on 28 September 2023 between NTU Associate Vice President (Strategy & Partnership) Professor Lam Kwok Yan and Naval Group Far East Managing Director Luc Martinelli. These projects amount to S$ 2.3 million.
One project focuses on developing a semi-autonomous vessel navigation system that automates path planning to avoid collisions. The other focuses on developing an artificial intelligence-powered mission planning tool that can allow a fleet of unmanned vehicles to work in tandem and alter its course of action real time in response to emergencies.
These technologies could find applications in areas such as vessel navigation, search and rescue missions, environmental monitoring, and naval operations.
This partnership draws on the scientific expertise of NTU’s Centre for Advanced Robotics Technology Innovation, a S$45 million research centre launched in 2022, and on Naval Group’s industrial experience and rich heritage in naval engineering, shipbuilding and maritime defence innovative solutions. In particular, in its R&D domain “smart naval forces”, its R&D centre of excellence in Singapore works in close cooperation with the Technical Department and the Autonomous Systems Department.
Through this collaboration, Naval Group and NTU hope to leverage their combined expertise and excellence to conduct innovative research, and to create a vibrant innovation ecosystem that encourages collaboration between academia and maritime industry, thereby facilitating the swift translation of research into practical applications.
NTU Associate Vice President (Strategy & Partnerships) Professor Lam Kwok Yan said: “As a university committed to creating real-world impact, NTU’s research and development efforts are inspired by industry needs, with an eye to develop innovative solutions that can be deployed by industry. NTU’s partnership with Naval Group leverages our strengths in robotics and artificial intelligence, and is yet another example of the University working closely with industry partners to develop advanced solutions that can be tested, demonstrated, and refined in real-world settings.”
Luc Martinelli, Managing Director of Naval Group Far East commented: “This partnership marks a new step in our development in Singapore. We are honoured to be working with NTU’s top researchers and its advanced robotic innovation centre. This partnership with Singapore’s brilliant ecosystems reinforces the group’s commitment to integrating the best of science and research in all our products to better serve our customer.”