Voices of youth

Make self-driving vehicles safer

The report of a self-driving car, which was on a test-drive, crashing into a lorry while changing lanes has sparked debates on the safety of such cars ("Driverless car hits lorry during test drive"; Oct 19, and "Driverless vehicles not viable option yet" by Dr V. Subramaniam; Oct 21).

Even though it was later discovered that the cause of the crash was an "extremely rare" mix of software glitches ("'Software anomalies' to blame for driverless car accident"; Nov 25), the concerns remain.

If we allow autonomous vehicles on public roads, we must first set new laws.

First, limit the maximum speed of such vehicles. This way, if there are any crashes, the damage would hopefully be minimal. If the driver wants to go faster, he must take over the wheel, and any accidents caused by speeding would be blamed solely on him.

Second, mandate the installation of security cameras in these vehicles, and perhaps all vehicles in general, so that the causes of accidents can be correctly identified.

To seamlessly integrate driverless cars into the current road system, more time and effort are needed.

Teo Chen Wei, 15,
Secondary 3 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2016, with the headline 'Make self-driving vehicles safer'. Print Edition | Subscribe