Embracing the future of land transportation : valuing flexibility in design and technology options for autonomous vehicle developments in Singapore
Valuing flexibility in design and technology options for autonomous vehicle developments in Singapore
System Design and Management Program.
Richard de Neufville.
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This thesis examines the prospects of implementing fully autonomous vehicles in Singapore, and proposes flexible design and development strategies to maximize value creation. This approach recognizes the uncertainties associated with emerging technology domains, and illustrates how an adaptive policy can enable the policymaker to apply policy levers timely to leverage upside opportunities and mitigate downside risks. A review of the autonomous vehicle developments in the industry shows that there is neither a clear consensus on the technological pathway, nor an agreement on a definitive solution to achieve full autonomy. The thesis evaluates the maturity of the technology enablers for autonomous driving capabilities using the Technology Readiness Level definitions adopted by the United States Department of Defense, and concludes that fully autonomous driving capabilities are not yet ready for the road. Based on a realistic assessment of the current state of technology, the thesis identifies three areas of uncertainty: rigor in safety validation, transition from prototyping to full-scale development, and effectiveness of autonomous vehicle deployment in improving road congestion. The thesis further discusses the policy implications specific to the context of Singapore, covering: (1) Personal and societal benefits and costs, (2) Balancing regulations with encouraging innovation, (3) Transportation as a service, (4) Pricing, (5) Ethical considerations and social dilemma, (6) Data management and privacy, (7) Social acceptance, (8) Liabilities and insurance, and (9) Infrastructure. The thesis concludes with actionable recommendations to guide the policymaker to remain capability-defined but technology-agnostic; and application-specific but solution-neutral. The recommendations are based on the following guiding principles: (1) Start small, then grow - prototype and pilot to validate hypotheses before scaling up, (2) Collaborate and leverage, through public-private partnerships, and (3) Do not be in a haste to commit - diversify and keep the options open.
Thesis: S.M. in Engineering and Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Engineering, System Design and Management Program, 2017.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 157-163).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering and Management Program; System Design and Management Program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering and Management Program., System Design and Management Program.