Grab and NUS have created a multi-million dollar ‘AI Lab’ to solve traffic issues across Southeast Asia

Grab CEO Anthony Tan (third from the left) unveiled the new joint AI laboratory between Grab and NUS.
National University of Singapore

Ride-hailing company Grab has teamed up with the National University of Singapore (NUS) to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory to solve urban transportation issues.

The laboratory, which is aptly called the Grab-NUS AI Lab, has been set up with a joint initial investment of S$6 million ($4.4 million).

It is the first AI laboratory with a commercial partner for NUS and will be located at the Innovation 4.0 building in NUS.

The lab will be using data from Grab’s platform to solve “complex, real-world challenges in Southeast Asia”, Grab said.

Challenges like identifying ways to directly impact mobility and liveability of cities across Southeast Asia; as well as mapping out traffic patterns will be studied by 28 senior Grab research scientists and NUS faculty members at the AI Lab.

The Lab will be used to improve the efficiency and reliability of transportation on the Grab platform in Southeast Asia’s cities initially, but Grab says that it will then expand its research on “larger challenges facing cities in Southeast Asia”.

The AI part of the lab will see a platform being created for the purpose of large-scale machine learning and visual analytics.

The lab will also be developing algorithms to better serve passengers with smarter and more personalised services, match drivers to the jobs they prefer, improve driving safety and more.

So how will it affect Singapore?

According to Grab’s CEO, Anthony Tan, the data collected will be able to reduce travel times in Singapore “down by one third or from 40 to 28 minutes” if used correctly to plan out solutions to these travel issues.

“The AI Lab will harness the power of Grab’s data and machine learning with research and talent from a world leading institution, to become a valuable tool for governments who are bringing smarter transport to their cities in Southeast Asia”, Tan added.