ST Kinetics (STK), the land systems arm of ST Engineering, and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) today launched the SP-STK Robotics Laboratory. Formed to develop infrastructure-based navigation technologies for Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) applications, the lab will see STK and SP pool their expertise and resources together for indoor and outdoor infrastructure-based navigation systems, from the research and design stages to test-bedding and commercialisation.
Infrastructure-based navigation systems form the backbone in the implementation of AGVs in the material handling industry, making the automation of AGVs possible. This in turn transforms the local material handling industry from a labour intensive sector into one that is highly automated. STK brings to this collaboration its core strengths in vehicle development and 10 years of experience in developing Unmanned Ground Vehicles for military applications. SP will be tapping on its expertise and experience in robotics engineering for the collaboration.
Mr Sew Chee Jhuen, President of STK said, “ST Kinetics is proud to collaborate with Singapore Polytechnic in the development of infrastructure based navigation technologies. The launch of the SP-STK Robotics Laboratory today marks our commitment to research and develop advanced technologies to build innovative autonomous and robotics solutions for our customers.” Through the provision of all three navigation technologies, the SP-STK Laboratory will be able to meet the needs of different target audiences with differing needs from indoor to outdoor, with this expecting to contribute significantly to productivity, reducing the reliance on manual labour.
SP’s Principal, Mr Tan Hang Cheong, believes the partnership will offer SP’s students with invaluable real-life learning opportunities allowing them to be work-ready, world-ready and life-ready. He said, “This partnership sees both Singapore Polytechnic and ST Kinetics strive to expand our existing cooperation for various strategic initiatives that would contribute to the development of autonomous solutions for the material handling industry, such as port automation. Our students will benefit greatly from the opportunities to learn from an industry leader like ST Kinetics. It is a commitment to ensuring that our students are given the most relevant exposure in an authentic learning environment to prepare them for work in the robotics industry.”
Through the SP-STK Robotics Laboratory, which will be located in SP, STK and SP will develop three types of infrastructure-based navigation solutions: the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and Vision based navigation systems. The RFID solution comprises passive RFID transponders that provide AGVs with localisation information. RFID is usually implemented outdoors where AGVs operate in different weather conditions. The LIDAR works on the principle of triangulation, where the beam from the LIDARs are reflected off pre-defined markers that are usually mounted on ceilings. Vision-based navigation systems on the other hand utilise cameras mounted on AGVs to follow lanes that have been painted on the ground. Both LIDAR and Vision-based navigation systems are better suited for use indoors.