Grab and NUS launch joint AI lab to develop smart urban transport solutions for Southeast Asia

Grab has partnered National University of Singapore (NUS) to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory to develop solutions to transform urban transportation in Southeast Asia, according to a press release on Wednesday, July 18.

Set up with a joint initial investment of S$6 million, the Grab-NUS AI Lab is Grab’s first major AI laboratory and NUS’ first AI laboratory with a commercial partner.

Anchored at the NUS Institute of Data Science, the Grab-NUS AI Lab will leverage data from the Grab platform to solve complex, real-world challenges in Southeast Asia.

Grab’s vast troves of data will help provide deeper insights into how cities across Southeast Asia move today. By combining the data with NUS’ research expertise in the field of AI, the lab will map out traffic patterns and identify ways to directly impact mobility and liveability of cities across Southeast Asia. 

The researchers will create a robust AI platform for large-scale machine learning and visual analytics that can develop novel applications from Grab’s massive data set. For example, assisting transport authorities in monitoring and optimizing traffic flow. 

Minister for Education Mr Ong Ye Kung witnessed the signing of the Research Collaboration Agreement between NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye and Mr Anthony Tan, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Grab. He also officiated at the launch ceremony and visited the laboratory.  

Photo courtesy: NUS
Photo courtesy: NUS

The laboratory will also focus on developing algorithms to better serve passengers with smarter and more personalised services, match drivers to the jobs they prefer and improve driving safety through better understanding of driver behaviour. Through the detection of traffic events and anomalies in real-time, urban traffic flow can be improved. The algorithms also improve precision and accuracy in mapping pick-up points and localising moving vehicles to help passengers and drivers get from point to point with greater ease and efficiency.

“The Grab-NUS AI Lab is an excellent collaborative effort where NUS researchers will work closely with Grab data scientists to create unique AI innovations based on insights relevant to Asia and the world," said NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye. 

"This is also a great opportunity for our researchers and students to make a real-world impact through our research in data science and AI. Over time, we hope to build a healthy pipeline of well-trained and experienced data scientists and AI researchers for Singapore and beyond.”

Grab Co-founder and Group CEO Anthony Tan said, “Grab has a bold mission to solve Southeast Asia’s most complex challenges, especially the congestion that stifles our cities. The AI Lab will harness the power of Grab’s data and machine learning with research and talent from [NUS] to become a valuable tool for governments who are bringing smarter transport to their cities in Southeast Asia.”

Anthony revealed how the insights from the Grab-NUS AI Lab, could make a difference for Singapore starting today: “Data from our Grab platform can map out the traffic patterns and evolution in mobility for cities across Southeast Asia. For example, our data shows that travel time from Newton to Tanjong Pagar can be drastically improved today. If this route would be better served by more shared transport solutions, such as buses, trains, GrabShuttle, GrabShare or GrabHitch, we could bring travel time during peak hour down by 1/3rd or from 40 to 28 minutes.”

CtoI News Desk
CtoI News Desk – CtoI

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