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Grab gives Tengah residents free delivery and brings us around to map the town’s roads and streets

Grab gives Tengah residents free delivery and brings us around to map the town’s roads and streets

Tengah is Singapore's newest housing estate, and even though residents have moved in progressively from 2023, most of the town is still a work-in-progress, with uncompleted roads and construction everywhere.

The town is so new that many online maps still reflect Tengah as a simply a large patch of green with few details.

The lack of updated navigational data for Tengah means that it can be rather tricky to locate your friend's new home to attend their house-warming party. Beyond that however, the problem is most acute for ride-hailing drivers and food delivery riders, who greatly depend on accurate maps to find their pick-up/drop-off/delivery locations.

For Tengah residents, the problem leads to added inconvenience, as it means that their drivers or food delivery riders end up taking much longer to arrive. The issue is exacerbated by the fact that Tengah is still quite undeveloped in terms of amenities and public transport options, so residents end up depending more on online deliveries and ride-hailing services compared to those living in other estates.

Comments from Tengah residents have reflected the reality of the situation, with several complaints about how difficult it is for ride hailing drivers and food delivery riders to navigate the estate, resulting in late arrivals or even cancellations.

To address the issue, Grab is setting out to map the town of Tengah, via its GrabMaps map-building service. It does this using Grab's own innovative propriety technology, as well as leveraging on its GrabMaps operations team to deliver the latest, up-to-date location information in real time.

GrabMaps utilises data captured from Kartacams, their home-grown artificial intelligence-powered action cameras that can be mounted onto vehicles, bicycles, personal mobility devices, and attached to portable backpacks.

To date, Grab has mapped six out of 22 precincts in Tengah with the help of their GrabMaps operations team, amassing data across 10 kilometres of roads and footpaths, and over 160 Points of Interest (POIs), such as lift lobbies, HDB blocks and businesses in the town.

To find out how Grab is mapping the new town, we headed down to meet the team behind it.

AsiaOne tries mapping Tengah

Our one-time trial as map contributors began at Plantation Grange, where we were invited for a short car ride across Tengah new town.

The vehicle we cruised in was specially outfitted with a KartaCam 2 mounted on the roof, which would capture 360-degree footage of roads, street signs and POIs along our route.

The process of mapping was relatively simple; a KartaView mobile application would display the map of Tengah in grid view, and the GrabMaps operations team would undertake a number of these grids to capture footage. 

The team would then return the KartaCam footage to the Grab HQ, where it would be reviewed by a dedicated engineering team.

Mapping a town like Tengah required a fair bit of patience due to the various ongoing construction projects in the area. Road blockages and scaffolding were common sightings where we were located. To add, road information on current mapping applications was incomplete, which meant that certain roads could technically exist on these maps but were in reality, inaccessible due to road works.

Nevertheless, we were helping people navigate roads in Tengah and get to their location more easily by documenting road conditions.

Our next activity involved capturing more street-view footage on foot.

While we had our reservations about strapping on the KartaCam backpack (it looked heavy), it was surprisingly light and fun to carry along with us.

Footage captured by GrabMaps operations team on foot is equally important in ensuring the accuracy and utility of GrabMaps. Footpaths, shortcuts and desire paths may not necessarily show up on existing maps. Plus, with Tengah boasting pedestrian-friendly streets and Singapore's first car-free town centre, tracking these walking and cycling paths becomes doubly important.

On foot, certain POIs such as lift lobbies below HDB flats and condominium blocks can also be mapped more easily.

Thanks to the Grab engineering team, we were granted an exclusive look into Grab's KartaView imagery platform, where we saw panoramic screenshots of our day's journey.

Powered by edge artificial intelligence, Grab's mapping technology automatically processes images, quality checks and blurs out personal identification data such as faces and car license plates. The images also hold precise location data which allows the road signs, block numbers and POIs that have been highlighted by the AI to be mapped more accurately.

The data is then manually coded into GrabMaps by the team to enhance GPS navigation for users.

Promotions and mapping: Grab's community contributions don't end there

Grab's efforts are part of Delivering Tengah!, a community development initiative to support the continual improvement of amenities for residents staying in the new town.

In addition to leading this new initiative, Grab also announced two promotions on GrabFood and GrabMart for Tengah residents, aimed at alleviating frustrations stemming from the limited range of food and grocery options available in their neighbourhoods.

All residents can use the promo code 'GRAB4TENGAH' for free delivery on their GrabFood or GrabMart orders (can be redeemed up to five times per user per month, with no minimum order required). If you're a Tengah resident and you're a first-time user of GrabMart Grocer, you'll also be able to enjoy 15 per cent off (capped at $8) your first order with the promo code 'TRYGMG'. The promotions last from today till 31 Dec.

On Grab's website, the company also announced that their GrabMaps engineers are working on a new project, Carpark Mapping, which would allow Grab deliveries to go through the carpark and straight to residents' blocks.

Find out more about Grab's Delivering Tengah! initiative here.

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