Autonomous and electric vehicles are gaining ground in Singapore. Source: Shutterstock

Autonomous and electric vehicles are gaining ground in Singapore. Source: Shutterstock

How the LTA’s TR68 fuelled Singapore’s autonomous vehicle agenda

REGULATIONS are a key part of the digital transformation puzzle.

Singapore used it as a tool to become a pioneer in the fintech industry over the past few years, and now, is looking at using clear yet agile regulations to get ahead in the autonomous vehicles space.

Most recently, the country’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) published a new set of documents called Technical Reference 68 (TR68) that offer provisional national standards to guide the industry in the development and deployment of fully autonomous vehicles.

According to the press release, TR 68 was developed over the past year under the purview of the Singapore Standards Council’s (SSC’s) Manufacturing Standards Committee.

It is an industry-led effort involving four working groups comprising representatives from the autonomous vehicles industry, research institutions, institutes of higher learning and government agencies.

According to a recent Fitch report, TR68 will create targets for autonomous vehicle technology developers to reach and will seek to eliminate a lot of the risk and uncertainty surrounding this technology.

Further, analysts at the think tank believe that Singapore’s aging population is a strong reason why the government is keen on pioneering and championing autonomous vehicles.

“This could mean that more of the population will eventually leave the automotive market due their age and the increased risks that they potentially pose to other motorists on the roads,” an analyst told local media in Singapore.

What Singapore’s TR68 is all about

Standards issued as part of TR68 are bifurcated into four parts covering four key areas of autonomous vehicle deployment. Each part of the standard TR68 is sold separately on the Singapore Standards eShop.

The availability of clear standards and definitions immediately makes Singapore an attractive destination for autonomous vehicle companies across the world looking to launch pilot programs and roll-out services to the public.

Here’s a short summary of what parts one to four discusses:

# 1 | Basic behavior

Gives the provisions relating to the dynamic driving task (DDT) and behavior controlled by autonomous vehicles’s automated driving system (ADS). The scope is as follows:

  • Conduct of autonomous driving, including but not limited to vehicle-to-vehicle interactions
  • Interpretation of road signs, markings and traffic signals
  • Management of non-transferable rules.

The document also covers the key directives, providing safety and maintaining traffic movement, for automated driving and provides a hierarchy of directives and rules to overcome potential conflicts between rules.

TR-68 Part 1 also introduces a framework for the application of rules as part of driving policy.

# 2 | Safety

This document outlines the safety provisions for autonomous vehicles deployed on public roads. Specifically, the use case of deployment in Singapore is considered.

TR-68 Part 2 stipulates system-level safety in order to ensure:

  • Functional and operational safety requirements of vehicles are met
  • System safety is applicable to the operation design domain in which the vehicle operates
  • The vehicle developer, system integrator and system operator are competent organizations with an appropriate quality management system in place supported by competent personnel
  • That appropriate safety goals are in place to guide safety assurance at the system level

# 3 | Cybersecurity principles and assessment

Lists out the provisions for cybersecurity assessment framework of autonomous vehicles deployed on public roads. The document covers the following areas:

  • Existing implementation: Apply methodology from existing cybersecurity standards and best practices in the context of automotive practices. Where the subject is a cyber-physical vehicle system that includes embedded control systems, and a coupling between the computational elements and physical elements
  • Improvements: Extend existent cybersecurity standards and best practices for automotive application to provide an enhanced cybersecurity safeguard in response to the increased security threat potential which is present for vehicles deployed to level 4/5 autonomous vehicle

The TR68 – Part 3 also includes a security risk assessment but does not extend to consider risks arising due to any consequential impacts on the physical operation of the vehicle arising from cybersecurity.

# 4 | Vehicular data types and formats

Intended for Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles, this document provides the taxonomy and definitions for terms related to driving automation systems for on-road motor vehicles, to be deployed as people mover systems.

The document is intended to apply to companies expecting to roll-out level 4 and level 5 autonomous vehicles in mixed-use traffic and on public roads.

TR-68 Part 4 specifies vehicular data types and formats (but not the interchange syntax) for the following purposes:

  • Data to be recorded by the Data Storage System for Automated Driving
  • Reasonable and adequate use of AV data to continuously improve safety
  • Management of dynamic content
  • Use in investigation and reporting of accidents and claim disputes
  • Vehicle to everything (V2X) information exchange for enhancing safety and efficiency