The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) has officially launched the NanoMalaysia Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (NAVi) at Technology Park Malaysia (TPM), Bukit Jalil.
Led by Dr Rezal Khairi Ahmad, CEO of NanoMalaysia, the agency under the purview of MOSTI has been working on the technology of autonomous vehicles since 2017 for the use in transportation. NAVi-Delivery (NAVi-D) is an evolution of autonomous vehicle technology that focuses on last-mile delivery.
At the launch event officiated by MOSTI Minister, Dato Sri Dr Adham bin Baba said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has rushed the world to the era of digitalisation, with high demand for minimal contact and interaction. This development is in-line with the ‘High Tech, Low Touch’ initiative that was spearheaded by MOSTI,”
In the live demonstration, a rather cute autonomous vehicle designed to send small packages has been fitted with a 3D 16-channel LIDAR (light detection and ranging) scanner and stereo camera for better obstacle detection and avoidance. YB Dato Sri Dr Adham ordered a ‘teh tarik’ from the auditorium, and the NAVi-D vehicle sent the drink from a coffee stand outside to the entrance of the auditorium, completely unmanned.
Meanwhile, NanoMalaysia also used a Proton Perdana 2.4 as a base to develop Autonomous Driving technologies to achieve visual-based autonomy. The demo vehicle is said to achieve Level 3 – 4 Autonomous Driving on a visual-based approach specifically towards lane tracking and turning via image detection of predefined markets such as QR codes and signs.
NanoMalaysia says the commercial application for the visual-based technology include private commercial transit and logistic operations in a controlled environment. Dr Rezal provided examples such as ports and Sunway Line’s Bus Rapid Transit system due to its fixed route and clear signages.
NAVi is now undergoing a trial phase at the compound around the technology park. Roadways spanning up to 12 km from Phase 1 to 3 of TPM are scheduled to be approved dedicated lanes for autonomous vehicles (AV) under the practical laboratory framework of TPM International Innovation Hub.
To further support the development and completion of AV in the future, infrastructure such as road signs, signboards, central command centre and 5G connection are currently being constructed, enabling TPM to be the main facility to test the latest technology in AV.