ComfortDelGro invests in AV tech specialist

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ComfortDelGro, which has a world-wide fleet size of about 34,000 buses, taxis and rental vehicles, and which runs over 175km of light and heavy rail networks in Singapore and New Zealand and has operations spanning Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, Ireland, and Malaysia, has invested $4m (£3.2m) into an Israel-based teleoperation company in a move designed to boost its autonomous vehicle (AV) capabilities. The company, Ottopia, is a software company based in Tel Aviv that develops teleoperation software for autonomous vehicles.

Ottopia’s teleoperation technology offers the ability to remotely assist, guide and control fleets of autonomous vehicles and has been tested and deployed in a variety of environments. ComfortDelGro says the software can be integrated into the Group’s future AV operations centre, making it an essential tool enable the adoption of AV technology in smart urban mobility.

ComfortDelGro CEO of Cheng Siak Kian said: “This investment in Ottopia is an important cornerstone of our future-proofing plans.

Having teleoperation capabilities which will enable us to intervene and operate an AV remotely whenever needed, is critical in our future operational plans.”

CEO and founder of Ottopia Amit Rosenzweig added: “We are thrilled to have the support of one of the world’s largest land transport companies as we continue to develop our teleoperation software platform. This funding will enable us to accelerate the development and roll-out of our teleoperation software, as well as expand the team to continue pushing the boundaries of autonomy.”

The Group has already trialled an autonomous shuttle bus service in real traffic conditions at the National University of Singapore’s Kent Ridge campus, which operated for around a year in 2019. Other AV trials were carried out by its bus subsidiary SBS Transit in 2021, testing an on-demand shuttle bus service using autonomous vehicles for three months as part of an initiative under Singapore’s national Emerging Stronger Taskforce to promote and accelerate sustainable deployment of robotics in the country. SBS Transit was also involved in two further trials operating AVs, where its bus captains served as safety drivers.