Self-driving vehicles on trial must have safety drivers, black boxes: MOT

Self-driving vehicles on trial must have safety drivers, black boxes: MOT

Driverless shuttle
An autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle by NTU. (Photo: Kevin Kwang) 

SINGAPORE: Autonomous vehicles (AVs) on trial in Singapore must meet stringent requirements such as having a safety driver on board and be fitted with a black box data recorder, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary in Parliament on Wednesday (Jul 11).

He was responding to a question by MP Melvin Yong on the measures in place to ensure the safety of road users.

Dr Puthucheary revealed that there are 14 AVs currently authorised to conduct trials on roads at one-north, as well as areas around the National University of Singapore and Singapore Science Park 1 and 2.

He stressed that these trials must “fulfil stringent requirements” to ensure the safety of road users.

Among the measures he highlighted were that the AVs must be accompanied by a safety driver who is trained to immediately take full control of the vehicle when required.

“In addition, all AVs must have a vehicle fault alert system that will alert the safety driver of any faults, and allow the control of the vehicle to be immediately transferred to the safety driver," said Dr Puthucheary.

"LTA will only waive the requirement for a safety driver after AV developers have convincingly proven the competency, reliability and safety of their technology."

On the black box data recorder, he explained that the device stores video footage and collects key data from the AVs.

The vehicles are also required to have the necessary insurance coverage against third party liability and property damage, Dr Puthucheary added.

He also stressed that AVs must pass a safety assessment to demonstrate that it can adequately handle basic manoeuvers and come to a safe stop once it detects an obstacle.

The initial AV trials are conducted on lightly used roads, and further trials “in more complex environments” will only be allowed when the AVs are able to demonstrate a higher level of competency, he added. 

Source: CNA/am/(gs)