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nuTonomy driverless-car accident due to 'extremely rare' software glitches; one-north trial resumes

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An accident that resulted in the suspension of a driverless-car trial in Singapore's one-north district last month was due to an "extremely rare combination of software anomalies" that affected the car's sensing capabilities.

AN accident that resulted in the suspension of a driverless-car trial in Singapore's one-north district last month was due to an "extremely rare combination of software anomalies" that affected the car's sensing capabilities.

After responding to these issues, nuTonomy has resumed the trial, the technology firm behind the trial told The Business Times in an emailed response on Thursday.

A driverless taxi, developed by nuTonomy, was involved in an accident with a lorry in late October in one-north, a business district in western Singapore. The trial that the taxi was in was suspended later. The Traffic Police and the Land Transport Authority were involved in investigating the incident.

On Thursday afternoon, nuTonomy said in a release: "The investigation found that the accident was due to an extremely rare combination of software anomalies that affected how the vehicle detected and responded to other nearby vehicles when moving to an adjacent lane.

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"We've made improvements to our software system to eliminate these anomalies, and have extensively tested it both in simulation and on private roads to ensure that our vehicles will operate safely going forward."

nuTonomy still plans to launch its self-driving mobility-on-demand service in Singapore in 2018.

Earlier this week, the startup said it will begin testing its fleet of driverless cars in a designated area of Boston in the United States.

During the Boston trial, nuTonomy's software system will learn local signage and road markings while gaining a deeper understanding of pedestrian, cyclist and driver behaviour, and interaction across a complex urban driving environment, it said.

nuTonomy plans to work with government officials to expand the testing area to other parts of the city in the near future.

The trial was put into effect through a memorandum of understanding between nuTonomy with the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation that was signed on Monday.

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