Mapletree Pan Asia Commercial Trust, supported by IMDA, invests in robotics middleware for cleaning, surveillance and last mile delivery within Mapletree Business City
SINGAPORE – 02 NOV 2023
Mapletree Pan Asia Commercial Trust (MPACT), supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and bringing together industry players, is investing in the deployment of the Robotics Middleware Framework (RMF)-based middleware within Mapletree Business City (MBC) to power robotics with three different functions – cleaning, surveillance and last mile delivery – progressively over the next two years. The project marks Singapore’s first large-scale RMF-based middleware deployment to bring about robotic interoperability and orchestration in an integrated office and business park complex with 268,600 sqm of lettable area.
2. The drive to enhance interoperability is part of IMDA’s Digital Connectivity Blueprint, which was launched in June 2023 to ensure that Singapore’s digital infrastructure is future ready. The RMF-based middleware layer plays a key role in enabling physical-digital infrastructure, which facilitates interoperability and enables easier deployment and integration of solutions.
3. The strategic partnership between IMDA and MPACT will see the commencement of RMF-based middleware implementation at MBC to foster seamless deployment of different robotics use cases.
MBC – An ideal “playground” for the industry to conduct AMR trials
4. In Singapore, RMF technology is still in its formative stages with limited sites for Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) industry players to test the technical and operational feasibility of integration with RMF-based middleware. As a pioneering move in a commercial context, MPACT has committed to launching MBC as an experimental space for AMR players. This “playground” not only facilities AMR players to plug in and connect to the RMF-based middleware for trial testing, but also paves the way for the establishment of interoperability standards. Through these trials, the aim is to bolster the RMF-based middleware’s efficacy unlocking its full potential.
5. Notably, MBC stands out as an ideal “playground” given its expansive size and layout, diverse tenant mix including F&B options. These elements collectively create a multi-faceted environment for robust AMR testing, thus enriching the quality of the trials and amplifying the potential for scalability and interoperability.
6. The benefits for MPACT and its service providers and tenants include:
- Cleaning operations: Optimising the use of current cleaning AMRs for seamless multi-floor operation in all buildings within the premises, without the need for cleaners to manually move the AMRs across levels. This will free up cleaners for other tasks, leading to overall efficiency gains.
- Surveillance: Surveillance AMRs can complement security guards in patrolling large-scale compounds, resulting in productivity gains. Surveillance AMRs also serve as a deterrent for suspicious activities such as loitering and trespassing, contributing to a safer environment.
- Last-mile delivery: Last mile delivery AMRs can be used for delivering food and parcels, potentially increasing sales for F&B tenants and bringing greater convenience to office tenants.
We look forward to working with MPACT on this exciting first for Singapore and the industry. When deployed, this will be a showcase to the rest of the sector on how RMF-based middleware enables interoperability and orchestration of AMRs to drive digital transformation. This is part of IMDA’s larger efforts to play a catalyst role by bringing ecosystem players together to address future demands.
Mr Leong Der Yao
Assistant Chief Executive, Sector Transformation, IMDA
8. Ms Sharon Lim, Chief Executive Officer of MPACT Management Ltd, the manager of MPACT, said, “We are pleased to partner IMDA on this large-scale middleware deployment in MBC. We see tremendous value in combining expertise from partners across the ecosystem, to adopt the seamless and innovative use of robotics technologies at MBC. In doing so, we hope to improve operational efficiencies and create a differentiated experience for our tenants at MBC as well as across the rest of our portfolio.”
RMF promises a cost-effective solution to integrate AMR with building infrastructure
9. In anticipation of the growing need for interoperability and large-scale autonomy, IMDA will continue to bring ecosystem players together to enhance RMF-based middleware features and develop new capabilities, such as multi-system integration to achieve seamless operation of multiple autonomous systems, and to scale and proliferate the benefits of autonomy.
10. There is a growing trend of AMR deployment across various sectors such as healthcare, logistics, hospitality as well as environment services to complement the ageing workforce and address manpower needs in Singapore. With this trend, the increasing diversity of robot fleets has given rise to the need for interoperability and orchestration. Currently, AMRs are unable to communicate easily with building infrastructure and with one another. In addition, in situations such as a gridlock, there is no intelligent centralised control to manage and deconflict traffic.
11. The RMF is an open-source framework which enables interoperability and orchestration among heterogeneous robot fleets and building infrastructure. RMF-based middleware serves as the means to bridge this diversity and provides the foundation for easy plug and play of different types of AMRs to enable seamless deployment at scale. Benefits include robotics deployment for seamless operation without the need for human intervention, resulting in productivity and efficiency gains; avoiding infrastructure modification costs required for the deployment of individual robots; and realisation of potential use cases by using a standardised integration and communication framework.
12. For more information on IMDA’s efforts to foster interoperability through middleware, please visit Autonomous Mobile Robots.