Makers of self-driving cars should study Boeing crashes

I am not normally a nervous flier. But the similarities between the recent Ethiopian Airlines disaster and the October crash of another Boeing 737 Max 8 flown by Indonesia's Lion Air were enough to make me applaud the decision to ground the planes while the authorities figure out what went wrong.

Boeing has been working on fixes for the 737 Max's flight control software ever since the October crash was blamed in part on an anti-stall system going awry. The software, known as Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), appears to have repeatedly forced the plane's nose down because an "angle of attack" sensor misread the plane's angle to the ground. The pilot tried repeatedly to pull the nose up but the plane fell into a fatal dive.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2019, with the headline 'Makers of self-driving cars should study Boeing crashes'. Print Edition | Subscribe