UNIVERSITI Malaya’s Engineering Faculty has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sena Traffic Systems (STS) to enable the university’s students to take part in the development of smart city applications, particularly smart traffic systems.
The cross-faculty, cross-discipline collaboration allows students and faculty members to exchange ideas and develop high-quality and practical solutions applicable to smart cities.
Present at the MoU signing ceremony at Universiti Malaya (UM) were STS director William Tan Wei Lun, STS acting research and development director David Lim Chiok Chuan and UM’s Civil Engineering Department head Assoc Prof Dr Lai Sai Hin.
Tan said one of the ways to speed up the development of smart city applications was to have more collaborations with institutions of higher learning.
“We have the opportunity to explore all the possibilities in our labs before finally deploying them. We welcome students to be part of this interesting journey.”
Dr Lai said he was looking forward to organising seminars between STS and the faculty’s researchers, as well as sending students for internship in STS.
“We want our students to get good exposure in the industry by learning from STS engineers. We also hope that STS will one day provide scholarships to our students, hence securing graduates of high quality each year,” Dr Lai said.
Some of the identified areas for collaboration include intelligent traffic solutions, aiming to ease traffic congestion, monitoring road safety as well as minimising crime and offences in Malaysia.
Dr Lai added that at UM was undergoing transformation in many areas.
Its Faculty of Engineering is ranked 22 by the QS World University Ranking.
“One of the key aspects of projecting our research success is to have industry-institute collaboration and work together for the betterment of society. Thus, our vision is to foster closer links with the industry, as we believe this will help in accelerating our aim to be among the world’s best in research and education,” Dr Lai said.
He added that they aimed to achieve technology and knowledge transfer to enhance research proficiency.
“Through these collaborations, our students have also benefited from the presence of industry partners in terms of graduate employment, research collaboration, internship opportunities and technical talks.
“We are confident that the MoU between Universiti Malaya and Sena Traffic Systems will result in similar benefits for both parties,” Dr Lai said.
STS is a homegrown company that develops scalable smart traffic system and has more than 10 clients consisting of local municipal councils.
Recently, it has also been selected as one of the partners in the Malaysia City Brain project to work with Alibaba, Kuala Lumpur City Hall and MDEC.
The Malaysia City Brain is a data-driven, artificial intelligence smart traffic platform adapted from Hangzhou City Brain and evolved to meet local needs.
“STS sees the MoU as an opportunity to be part of this endeavour while aiming to be part of Malaysia’s high-income nation agenda by offering high-value products while developing local talents,” Tan added.
STS was founded in 2007 to develop a smart traffic system that involved integrating telecommunication technology with sensors and computer software that could analyse real-time information. In short, developing a traffic system with artificial intelligence (AI) capability.
Tan said, “It is not just simple logic, using ‘on’ and ‘off’ instructions.
“Imagine having five policemen at five different junctions on the same road. They would be able to manage traffic better if they are in constant communication with each other.
“At each intersection, the officer is able to estimate traffic flow because he or she are given updates. Our traffic lights will also be able to do this without any interference, ‘talking’ to each other to ensure smooth traffic flow at all times.
“The timer system is a thing of the past. Traffic lights need to detect the number of vehicles and adapt,” Tan explained.
Apart from this, Tan said they also developed smart city applications fit for a developed nation, which Malaysia aspires to be by 2020.
These applications include the Intelligent Street Lights Management, Smart traffic control, E- Service management and Remote Lift Maintenance Monitoring systems.
STS is currently developing an advanced fibre optic communication network to supporting the Government’s efforts in making Kuala Lumpur a smart city.
Tan said the MoU would give UM students the opportunity to be part of this interesting development which players are mainly multinational conglomerates.
“This collaboration is also a good platform for university faculty members to test their innovations and research findings and how they can be incorporated into the product development process,” Tan concluded.