Speech by Speech Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, Mr Baey Yam Keng at the OneArena Robotics Challenge 2022

17 Jun 2022Speeches
Prof Louis Phee, Dean of the NTU College of Engineering, 
Colleagues from the Home Team Science & Technology Agency, 
Students of NTU and Participants of OneArena 2022,


1.     Good afternoon. I am very happy to be here for the Grand Finale Competition and the Closing Ceremony of the OneArena Robotics Challenge 2022. It is incredible to see so many young and promising students take part in this exciting challenge. I hope you have had an enriching experience these past three days.

2.     The theme of OneArena 2022 is the application of robotics in Aviation. When we think of Aviation, we may first think of what we see around us here in Changi Airport – the seamless passenger check-in experience, the thrill of taking a flight. But what we may not see, is all the background work that goes on every day to make these possible. 

3.     I hope this year’s competition has given you a greater appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes in an airport, and how robotics and technology can be applied to improve airport operations. Beyond serving as scenarios to put your skills to the test, they simulate real-world problems facing airports that engineers and programmers work hard to solve. 

Tech Solutions to Real-World Challenges 

4.     The Baggage Sorting scenario is a great example of such a problem. Before COVID-19 struck, we handled an average of 70,000 bags every day at Changi Airport – how can we accurately sort baggage and goods of all sizes for passengers travelling from and to many destinations around the world, and deliver them in the shortest amount of time? 

5.     This is no easy task. Engineers are thus working out ways using technology to improve and automate operations. For example, Changi Airport is trialling autonomous vehicles to transport baggage seamlessly between planes and baggage belts. To sort the goods that arrive, image processing and Artificial Intelligence solutions are used to instantaneously capture data and optimise planning in the warehouse. Much like the coding you just did for the Baggage Sorting competition, these technologies ensure that airport operations are smooth, that our workers can be more productive, and that passengers like you and me can travel with minimal downtime and worry. 

6.     Meanwhile, the Fire Rescue scenario demonstrates that robotics can not only improve operations but even save lives. The Singapore Civil Defence Force is constantly exploring and developing the use of robots to improve its firefighting capabilities. Robots can be remotely controlled, lowering the safety risks for firefighters.

7.     This is therefore an ideal use case, not only for robots on the ground, but also for technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones. Their cameras can be used to monitor hot spots, identify survivors, and map terrain in 3D. Drones have already been used during fire emergencies in countries like the US and the UK. One day, we may see such drones being used to support fire-fighting operations in Singapore. 


8.     These are just a few of the many examples of how technology can change our lives for the better. I hope that the activities you’ve participated in over the past few days have left you with a strong impression of the potential that robotics can have in Aviation, as well as in our everyday lives. More importantly, I encourage you to stay passionate and curious, seize every opportunity to learn, and use your talents to innovate and make a difference one day. 

9.     Let me end off by conveying my heartiest congratulations to the prize winners, to all participants, and to the OneArena 2022 Organising Committee for successfully organising an engaging event where we all can enjoy learning. Thank you. 

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