Monday, September 21, 2009

Automated electric vehicle

Is it safe to be in an automated electric vehicle (i.e. driverless)? These vehicles move by GPS system and does not require a human driver.

It should be quite safe, for the following reasons:

a) It will have sensors that will detect obstruction and avoid crashing into another vehicle.
b) The vehicle is likely to travel at a slow speed, maybe not more than 30 kph.
c) It will mainly be for short distance, i.e. to the nearby MRT or town center.

The danger could be that other vehicles (driven by people) will knock into this vehicle which is moving at a slow speed. The risk is also small and can be reduced by allocating the inner lane to the automated vehicle and other slow moving vehicles. The faster vehicles can use the outer lane. Maybe they can share the bus lanes.

The driverless vehicles are most useful for private housing estates and also for the internal compounds of universities, polytechnics and business parks.

It may be possible to construct elevated guide ways for these automated vehicles. The guide ways can be of small gauge and quite inexpensive to build. It can be much smaller than the tracks used by the MRT train.

It will run on electricity stored in the battery of the vehicle - no polltion, good for the environment.

Watch this Animated video.


  1. We are used to being driven around by somebody else, e.g. in a taxi. We are not in control of the car and we trust that the driver is safe.

    Is a human driver as safe as an automated car? The human driver is likely to be less safe, e.g. tired, not paying attention. An automated car should be safer.

    To prevent the automated car getting "out of control", the occupants can have an emergency switch. This will get the vehicle to stop on the side of the road.

    I just realise that aeroplaces can fly on an automated basis. The pilot is used only for landing and takeoff, but even this activity can be automated. So, we are in fact quite used to automated transport - only that we did not realise it.

  2. But what problem is the driverless vehicle trying to solve that public buses can't?

  3. Parka
    The driverless vehicle can come to your doorstep, and shorter waiting time. It is better than a taxi and cheaper.

  4. Public buses ply on fixed routes and stop only at designated bus stops. Automated vehicles behave a lot more like taxis, which brings people from any place to any place within some area.

    I am actually quite excited at this kind of development, and would like to see such options coming to Singapore.


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