NTU and Saab enter high-end digital technology partnership

Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore), one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions, and top Swedish defence and security technology leader Saab, will set up a joint research centre as part of a collaboration to develop research projects and programmes in high-end digital technology.

The collaboration with NTU is the first of its kind in Asia for Saab.

A key focus of the Saab-NTU Joint Research Centre is air traffic management, with research into areas such as artificial intelligence, cyber security, machine learning, computer vision, anomaly detection and unmanned aircraft system camera insertion. Another focus area is underwater robotics, with an emphasis on research in robot perception (sensing, detection and navigation) and endurance (energy storage and reliability).

Saab plans to make an initial investment of S$1.6 million, in the first year, in its collaboration with NTU. This will be followed by an annual investment for five or more years, which will be matched by NTU.

To initiate the partnership, NTU and Saab on 18 October signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, before the start of the two-day Wallenberg Autonomous Systems and Software Programme (WASP)-NTU Workshop in Stockholm.

The MOU was signed by Prof Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s Acting Provost, Chief of Staff and Vice-President for Research, and Ms Ann-Kristin Adolfsson, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Saab.

NTU President Prof Bertil Andersson, Mr Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of Saab, and Prof Subra Suresh, who will succeed Prof Andersson as NTU’s fourth president on 1 January next year, witnessed the signing.

“Signing this agreement is an important moment for both parties. It is a significant gesture on the part of Saab, sending a clear signal of its new research focus in Singapore and Asia. NTU is proud to be Saab’s partner of choice in Asia as together we forge a long-term partnership in research excellence,” said Prof Bertil Andersson.

“NTU will leverage the university’s strengths in interdisciplinary research, and combine them with Saab’s expertise in aeronautics and defence technology to develop next generation technologies that will benefit both industry and society.”

Prof Subra Suresh said: “Industry investment into university-based research and development, supporting the search for new discoveries and then translating them into industrial products and services, is critical to the advancement of science and innovation.

“NTU and Saab are breaking new ground together and this serves as a model partnership for companies looking to kick-start their R&D presence in Singapore. At NTU we look forward to realising the great potential of this joint research partnership which will benefit from the talent and creativity of our faculty and students and from Saab’s technical capabilities.”

Mr Pontus de Laval, the Saab’s Chief Technology Officer said that Saab decided to partner the Singapore-based University because of NTU’s rising reputation as one of the top universities in the world.

“Through our joint research, Saab will be able to tap into the ever growing and highly important Asia market while securing the engagement some of the region’s leading researchers to the company,” said Mr de Laval.

“Saab has a long history of collaborating with academia. Earlier research projects have all been located in Sweden, tied to Swedish universities and researchers. This collaboration with NTU is the first of its kind in Asia for Saab. It is a long term research project that will help to broaden Saab’s knowledge base and business network in Asia-Pacific – a key market for Saab in the future.”

The collaboration will also see Saab recruit top candidates to do their PhD at NTU to conduct the joint research and development work. The Saab employed PhD students will have opportunities to be involved with Saab’s various operational branches in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as its global headquarters in Sweden.

Prof Vu Nguyen Duong, director of the Air Traffic Management Research Institute at NTU’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, will be leading the research as its principal investigator. This is also the department that will house the Saab-NTU Joint Research Centre.

The MOU is also the latest in a long list of collaborations between NTU and Swedish institutions. It includes WASP, the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education, clean air solutions provider Camfil AB, and low energy lighting specialists LightLab Sweden AB.

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