Monday, November 20, 2017

Design of the Thale system

When one train collides into another train at Joo Koon station, the statement attributed it to a bug in the software where one essential element was removed.

This raised a bigger issue of concern.

It meant that the train did not have a local sensor to know that there is another large object ahead. It depend entirely on the software to control its movement.

Surely, this is a dangerous way to design the system?

The central control system should be responsible for setting the key parameters, e.g. maximum speed of the train, diversion to another track and other high level decisions.

The train should have its own sensor to avoid colliding with another large object ahead, which could be another train or a large foreign object that fell on the track.

The local sensors should also be responsible to stop the train at the exact spot on the platform and open the platform doors.

I do not know what are the benefits of using a central system to control the detailed aspect of the train, but I would consider the design to be unsatisfactory.

Why did we spend $195 million on the Thale system? What are the real benefits? They seem to create big safety concerns.

Do you agree?

Tan Kin Lian

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