Building Robotics and Autonomy

As the world continues to embrace robotics and find new ways to leverage the technology, we push boundaries in its application across the SAF’s full spectrum of operations.

Our technologists lead the development of ground robotics and autonomy capabilities to meet the nation’s defence and national security needs. In particular, a specialised team manages these projects from conceptualisation to deployment, overseeing every aspect from design, development, to testing.

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Innovation is a key tenet of our work in robotics. Our technologists are given opportunities to lead multidisciplinary teams in projects such as autonomous robots, robotic arms and autonomous vehicles (AV), where they are able to apply their knowledge of systems engineering to hands-on technical work. Through design thinking, rapid prototyping and agile methodologies, we combine our deep understanding of user scenarios and extensive technical expertise to co-create game-changing solutions for Singapore to stay ahead of the technology curve.

We also collaborate extensively with leading experts and global partners to exchange ideas and perspectives. We’ve worked alongside academic institutions to map and navigate complex underground environments, to develop and test simultaneous localisation and mapping capabilities in simulated environments.

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Virtual operational environment (left) and LIDAR point cloud (right)

Our team has also done much to improve our understanding of robots’ performance in virtual and physical environments, so we can better develop and prepare systems for deployment in the real world. Senior Engineer (Land Systems) Timothy Mah shared: “We created virtual operational environments with modelling and simulation software, and implemented algorithms in operating systems to test and evaluate robots and their suite of sensors such as LIDAR and RBGD cameras.”

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The team has since worked with industry partners in AV technology to develop and deploy dual-role AV for unmanned transportation of logistical supplies and personnel as part of a drive towards smart technologies. The AV fleet provides both on-demand services through a mobile application, as well as scheduled ferry services for SAF personnel in Kranji Camp and Paya Lebar Air Base. This not only brings greater convenience and saves time for the camp and base personnel, it also optimises manpower resources and contributes to MINDEF’s sustainability efforts.

Senior Engineer (Land Systems) Benjamin Eu said: “The unique opportunity to harness state-of-the-art robotic technologies by collaborating with world-class international partners, and lead the deployment of robotics in innovative applications for Singapore’s defence make our work in robotics exciting and fulfilling.”