NanoMalaysia Berhad (NMB) yesterday launched NanoMalaysia Autonomous Vehicle (NAVi) and NAVi-D (Delivery) as an initiative to produce novel Level 4 Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) or driverless vehicles in Malaysia, geared towards the development of technologies related to the 4th Industrial Revolution 4.0 (4IR).
NAVi is focused on the transportation sector while NAVi-D will be equipped for the last mile delivery sector. NAVi-D (Delivery) is an evolution from NAVi focusing on the delivery of parcels and food products. NAVi-D’s core technology is based on NAVi’s software architecture enhanced for this specific application.
While spearheading 4IR in Malaysia, these vehicles that are close to Level 4 autonomy is envisioned to minimise the occurrence of automobile accidents, which is largely due to human element. By reducing the long response time caused by distractions and a driver’s limited sensory faculty, undesirable road incidences will be significantly averted.
Furthermore, the execution of the 4IR policy is expected to improve the country’s productivity by 30 per cent across all sectors by the end of 2030.
In the long term, this Autonomous Vehicle technology will also be deployable globally in any type of vehicle, enabling it to operate itself and perform necessary functions without any human intervention.
Malaysia’s 5G roll-out plan is a necessary enabler to this cutting-edge technology due to much-improved connectivity and speed for up-to-the-minute traffic information. Once deployed, Malaysians someday will be able to appreciate better and safer road travel experiences, especially in terms of smooth traffic flow.
Autonomous Systems for road transport require regulatory interventions to ensure safe deployment and operations for everyone and also, the participation of the insurance sector for assured utilisation. MOSTI will leverage on the platform made available by the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) to get comprehensive participation from relevant stakeholders.
NMB is the leading agency mandated by MOSTI to commercialise nanotechnology through a venture builder model underpinned by a future-by-design approach as its unique value proposition.
Speaking at the launch yesterday, MOSTI Minister Dato Sri Dr Adham Bin Baba said: “As we are moving towards a contactless era precipitated by the Covid-19 epidemic, there is a strong demand to reduce human interaction in general, aligned to MOSTI’s Low Touch High Tech initiative. We aim to be the technological enabler responding to the needs of our country by implementing such a novel autonomous vehicle platform through NAVi and NAVi-D.
“Furthermore, NAVi and NAVi-D will help accelerate the implementation of technologies on par with Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0). This will benefit the public in terms of confirmed safety, health, and general productivity.”
NMB Chief Executive Officer, Dr Rezal Khairi Ahmad, is confident that both the autonomous-based system for vehicles will find its way into the market, on top of riding on the 4IR market opportunities towards automation coupled with intelligence and data sourcing and analytics, deployment strategies are just as crucial to ensuring economic returns for innovators and investors.
“The passenger transportation sector will be a medium to long term goal for many but a clever way to pivot and commercially deploy these autonomous vehicles as quick wins for Malaysian start-ups and small-medium enterprises (SMEs).
“This will create seamless delivery systems with minimal accident rates, due to human error and improved delivery lead time and efficiency.
“In the long run with a matured regulatory framework, Malaysia’s transportation sector will experience improved overall efficiency as the number of human error-related incidents are reduced. As for NAVi-D, having an autonomous food and parcel delivery system will ensure the safety of users as well as the service providers by limiting human interaction with the backdrop of current pandemic.”
He added that this technology will innovate the way we work, live and interact. The key components of the autonomous system for vehicles will create new supply and value chains for new business creations while steering Malaysia towards the direction of 4IR and will drive the nation to the forefront of connected mobility.
NAVi is currently being tested at Technology Park Malaysia (TPM) in Bukit Jalil. The roadways, totalling roughly 12km in TPM’s Phases 1 to 3, are scheduled to be the authorised route for AV under TPM’s International Innovation Hub’s living lab framework. To support future development of AV solutions, infrastructure such as road markings, road signs, a central command centre, and 5G connection are now being constructed. TPM is set to be the next designated sandbox and test facility for autonomous vehicle technology.