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Feature

A day in the life of an NTU student of the future

This is what an average day will soon be like for an NTU student on the NTU Smart Campus

An illustration of a student getting her attendance taken automatically at The HiveILLUSTRATIONS: TRUNG

On a breezy morning, Ann heads out for a quick morning jog. She grabs her NTU Smart Pass and bounds out of her hall room, the door automatically locking behind her. After her run, she buys an isotonic drink from a vending machine, paying with a tap of her Smart Pass. She returns to her room, unlocking it with the same pass, before inserting it into a card reader to turn on the air-conditioner.

After showering and loading her bag, her handphone chimes to alert her that the next electric bus is around the corner. Boarding the autonomous vehicle, she almost wants to say a cheery good morning to the driver except there is none.

An illustration of a couple of lovebirds on e-scooters near Nanyang Lake

The bus whizzes her to the North Spine, where she pays for a breakfast muffin from McDonald’s with her NTU pass. Her phone suddenly beeps with a reminder that the book she has reserved at the Lee Wee Nam Library is available for pick-up.

An illustration of a 3D printing lab at the new learning hub and 3D-printed drones buzzing around the building

As she walks into the library, Nadine, NTU’s humanoid robot, greets her and asks her what she needs. After a quick scan of her pass, Ann collects her reserved book and some printed notes at a nearby printer. As she leaves, she sees a logistics robot tidying up books, slotting them into their rightful places on bookshelves.

To get to her class, she rents an e-scooter with a phone app and zips down to The Hive, where lessons are conducted in smart classrooms. Later, at Co-Op Café, a tray-collecting robot rolls up beside her as soon as she is done with her lunch. She drops off the reusable utensils before setting off on an e-bicycle that she rents to head to The Wave for a game of badminton with her friends.

Pass with flying colours

Soon, every student at NTU can have the same Smart Campus experience as Ann.

An illustration of NTU robot Edgar giving directions to N2.1

Earlier this month, NTU President Prof Subra Suresh announced his vision of transforming NTU into a Smart Campus that harnesses the power of digital technology and tech-enabled solutions to support better learning and living experiences, the discovery of new knowledge, and the sustainability of resources.

“As a microcosm of Singapore, NTU’s large, beautiful and green campus makes it the ideal place to research, testbed and showcase new smart technologies from applications for sustainable buildings and efficient energy use to electric and autonomous vehicles,” he said.

He launched the first phase of the broad and multi-pronged Smart Campus initiative with the new NTU Smart Pass for the campus community.

Replacing the old student matriculation card and employee pass, the new NTU Smart Pass is an all-in-one card for identification and cash-free payment. It also functions as a digital key.

Almost all food courts, retail shops and F&B outlets on campus will be accepting cash-free payments via the NTU Smart Pass, and in future, through mobile payment such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. Powered by NETS FlashPay, the pass can also be used for public transportation like Mass Rapid Transit trains and buses, as well as carpark payments.

An illustration of a student buying food using her NTU Smart Pass and a tray-collecting robot

More cash-free payment options are in the works. In the pipeline are vending machines that accept NETS QR and NETS Pay, which will complement the NTU Smart Pass.

Sustainably smart

At NTU, a sizzling testbed of smart technologies, students can look forward to exciting trials of various innovations. In the next year, there will be at least two new autonomous electric shuttles and two fast-charging electric self-driving buses running on campus, which are being test-bedded with industry partners.

An illustration of students running towards a fast-charging electric shuttle bus

With more autonomous vehicles coming on public roads and taking to the sky, NTU researchers are looking at designing traffic systems for public safety. At NTU’s test circuit for autonomous vehicles, researchers are helping to formulate safety standards for driverless vehicles operating in the tropics. For accident-free airways, NTU’s drone experts are also working on an air-traffic system to manage hundreds of drones flying at the same time.

Over 95% of NTU buildings have already achieved Green Mark Platinum certification, a stamp of sustainability from the authorities, making NTU one of the world’s greenest campuses.

Ongoing sustainability research includes innovations such as smart data analytics to reduce energy and water consumption in buildings, safer self-driving technologies, and an integrated building management system that will result in greener classrooms using more energy-efficient cooling and smart lighting where lights are turned on only when people are present.