Launch of HTX’s ‘Hatch’ – Speech by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

Published: 30 May 2023

British High Commissioner H.E. Kara Owen,
Home Team Colleagues,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Good afternoon.
  2. Today, we are launching “Hatch” – the innovation centre by HTX, for public safety and security.

Transforming the HT with Technology

  1. HTX, as some or most of you would know, was formed about three years ago, and since then, it has already made a significant difference in the way Home Team operations are conducted – much more tech-driven.
  2. One example – from early next year, ICA’s Automated Border Control System will come into force. It is going to allow Singapore residents and departing visitors to clear immigration without their passports. And we will do that from early next year. There are ongoing trials to also automate even in-car immigration clearance at our land checkpoints.

Partnering with Start-Ups/SMEs

  1. But technology is developing very quickly, exponentially, and HTX understands the need to work very closely with startups and SMEs because some of the best ideas and innovations are coming out from that space.
  2. We have already done some work with SMEs to help us develop some niche capabilities. For example, Hope Technik, an SME based in Singapore. We work with them to produce the Light Fire Attack Vehicle, also known as the Red Rhino, that the SCDF uses. Another example is Ghost Robotics, a start-up from the United States. They developed the robotic platform for Rover-X, which is the robotic dog that HTX worked on, and can be deployed as a First Responder in terrain that is unstructured, hazardous terrain, and places that we would rather robots enter than our officers. And it’s helped in supporting disaster rescue efforts, and responding to hazardous material incidents.
  3. But we have much more to do.
  4. We have nearly 4,700 start-ups across 18 major industry verticals in Singapore. But if you look at the public safety and security sphere, the number of startups is very small. In fact, it is underrepresented.
  5. The Home Team has nine frontline departments, with diverse operations and requirements. There are a lot of opportunities for start-ups that focus on these areas.

Hatch's Open Innovation Challenges

  1. So, the idea is for Hatch is to run Open Innovation Challenges twice a year, to try and give this a kickstart.
  2. These Open Innovation Challenges will feature challenge statements from the Home Team.
  3. We will invite start-ups from across all industries to take up these challenges and put up their proposals.
  4. And, the funds will be given to selected start-ups to validate their technologies.
  5. The start-ups will also get to work directly with Home Team officers and HTX scientists and engineers.
  6. This Challenge is going to be open to start-ups from all industries.
  7. In fact, we want to encourage start-ups from more mature industries like FinTech, MedTech, eCommerce, and more, to come and work with us at Hatch.
  8. Many of these technologies have dual-use potential for public safety and security sphere.
  9. Take an example – Echodyne, a US start-up that develops sensors for driverless cars. Through the Silicon Valley Innovation Program, run by the US Department for Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, Echodyne’s technology has been used for counter-drone capabilities for the US border force. HTX is also working with Echodyne to explore how their technology can be applied for the Home Team.
  10. Hatch will be based here in Singapore, at JTC Launchpad, which is in the heart of Singapore’s start-up ecosystem.
  11. But we are also looking globally. We also invite start-ups from global innovation hubs like Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv to work with Hatch.

Hatch's Current Traction

  1. Our partner, SOSA, has an impressive track record and network, working with security agencies. Hatch worked with SOSA for the first Open Innovation Challenge earlier in March.
  2. 10 public safety and security challenge statements were published. For example, SCDF called for technology that enables real-time monitoring of personnel in indoor environments. And HTX Forensics asked for technology that supports crime scene imaging in a rapid way, mapping, and on-scene 3D capture of forensic exhibits.
  3. 60 start-ups responded – from Singapore, the US, Israel, and the United Kingdom, and from various industry verticals including MedTech and logistics.
  4. Five start-ups were shortlisted, and two of them are showcasing their technology here today.
  5. This is a very encouraging start. HTX will continue to try to be flexible to work with start-ups.
  6. The next run of the Open Innovation Challenge will be in the second half of this year, with a fresh set of challenge statements from the Home Team.


  1. Thank you all for your support for the Home Team and HTX.