Hyundai, Singapore university to run AI research in electric vehicle manufacturing

South Korean carmaker inks an agreement with Nanyang Technological University to run four pilots on artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing, with the aim to explore how 3D printers can be used to tailor components for electric vehicles.

Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group have inked an agreement to run four research projects focusing on the production of electric vehicles and future mobility technologies. Specifically, the four pilots will look at the use of artificial intelligence (A) and additive manufacturing technologies. 

The research initiatives aimed to develop applications that could pave the way for next-generation car manufacturing facilities, said NTU in a statement Thursday. 

One of the projects, for instance, would look to build machine learning algorithms for vehicle image processing, which could be tapped to check the quality of battery electric vehicles. These cars run entirely on batteries. An AI-powered image processing sensor deployed in the manufacturing plant could detect defects and anomalies across the production process, ensuring the safety and reliability of the final product, NTU said. 

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Another project would explore the integration of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, to customise automotive components for electric vehicles and how these parts could be implemented in small factor operation. This could facilitate smart manufacturing sites capable of building car models that were customised to a customer's preference. 

This initial stage of the four research pilots, focusing on AI and 3D printing, would begin this month, according to NTU.

The partnership comes off the groundbreaking of Hyundai's innovation centre in Singapore last October, during which NTU was unveiled as the carmaker's first academic research partner for the centre. Expected to be completed by end-2022, the Hyundai research facility focuses on future mobility technologies. 

The two partners also planned to run 3D printing competitions in automotive engineering, which they hoped would spur interest in electric vehicle manufacturing and nurture new talent in the sector. NTU students and researchers also would be able to tap Hyundai's industry experts to exchange ideas. 

Hyundai in June teamed up with mobile app platform Grab to drive the adoption of electric vehicles in Southeast Asia. Both companies would explore pilots to ease the use of such vehicles for Grab drivers and delivery partners, such as offering leasing programmes on a "battery-as-a-service" model. 

The South Korean carmaker in March also announced a partnership with Singapore telco Singtel to develop a system for Hyundai to monitor electric cars driven on the island. The Internet of Things (IoT) platform would provide Hyundai with telemetry, or "automatic data transmission", on the status and performance of the batteries powering the electric vehicles used the company's subscription service.

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