PUB launches 4th edition of Global Innovation Challenge

National water agency PUB has launched the fourth edition of its Global Innovation Challenge (GIC), to crowdsource for innovative and smart solutions to enhance the operational resilience and sustainability of Singapore’s water infrastructure. Applications are open until 12 Apr 2024.

Each winning proposal will receive pilot funding of up to S$250,000, along with access to real-world testbeds in PUB facilities and the opportunity to collaborate with and receive mentorship from in-house engineers and water experts. This year’s challenge will focus on PUB’s operational challenges in the used water reclamation process.

Two of the three challenge statements will seek solutions for inspecting and assessing the condition of the tunnels in the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS), as well as the underground pumping mains, that convey used water to PUB’s water reclamation plants (WRPs) for treatment.

The third challenge statement will explore the use of robotics systems to clean the process tanks located in PUB WRPs, thus eliminating manual labour and the associated safety risks of man-entry into the tanks to carry out cleaning works.

To reach out to more technology providers, PUB has partnered the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to leverage its Open Innovation Platform (OIP). The OIP provides access to a global community of 13,000 solution providers across diverse innovation areas.

Since its launch in 2020, PUB has issued a total of 14 challenge statements over the past three GIC editions, attracting worldwide interest with over 190 submissions from more than 20 countries. Two winning proposals from the second edition of GIC are being considered for potential deployment by PUB.

One of the winners from the third cycle is a Singapore-based commercial robotics firm CityBot Technology, who is designing a modular robotics platform for the inspection of closed public drains. The platform will be equipped with sensors and an artificial intelligence (AI) model to identify defects and anomalies unique to Singapore’s drainage system and is set to undergo field trials in April 2024.

Modular robotics platform equipped with camera and sonar sensors to inspect closed drains (Image: CityBot Technology)