Grab partners with University of Singapore to set up artificial intelligence laboratory

A man is seen entering the headquarters of ride-hailing services company Grab in central business district, Singapore.

​Southeast Asia’s Grab is jointly investing S$6 million (an equivalent of $4.4 million) with the National University of Singapore to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory to help improve the efficiency and utilization of vehicles on its platform.

The lab’s efforts will expand to research on challenges such as congestion in Southeast Asian cities, Grab and NUS said in a statement on Wednesday.

The AI lab is the latest move by Grab to leverage its vast trove of data and growing user base to improve its services. Last month, it received a $1 billion investment from Toyota Motor Corp in a partnership that includes data sharing.

The lab’s research could provide more personalized services to passengers, improve driving safety through better understanding of driver behavior as well as improve precision in mapping pick-up points, Grab and NUS said.

The lab will also look at developing algorithms that could detect traffic events and anomalies in real-time and improve traffic flow.

Grab, which started as a taxi-booking firm six years ago, has been transforming itself into a consumer technology group, offering services such as digital payments and food delivery.

Earlier this month, it said it would expand into grocery delivery as part of its new open platform strategy.

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