Paper 3

Higher Level

2019 -On the road to driverless cars

The exam paper is 1 hour 15 minutes long and for HL students only There are four questions based on the pre-seen case study. (30 marks) 'On the road to driverless cars' is the 2019 case study for ITGS paper 3. This is for HL ITGS students only. The case study booklet focuses on the World Driverless Vehicle Federation (WDVF) which is a multinational, apolitical organization that has been set up to promote the research, development and deployment of self-driving vehicles. The Case Study focuses on the problems that seem difficult to resolve with self-driving vehicles. This case study delves into several of the ITGS HL topics, including Information Systems in terms of Intelligent Transport and Artificial Intelligence. This case study is for May and November 2019 only. The case study for November 2018 was A doll called Alicia.

Check out this book for some insight into what is currently happening in the world of driverless cars:

Key Terms

Key terms associated with On the road to driverless cars

Assistive technology

This is any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of someone with a disability.


This is the process or action of verifying the identity of a user or process.


Authorization is the function of specifying access rights/privileges to resources related to information security and computer security in general and to access control in particular.

Collaborative route planning

This is regarding the inclusion of several data sources from different perspectives to plan the most efficient route possibl.


Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct.


This is the study of the nature of duty and obligation.

Global positioning system (GPS)

This is a "constellation" of approximately 30 well-spaced satellites that orbit the Earth and make it possible for people with ground receivers to pinpoint their geographic location. The location accuracy is anywhere from 100 to 10 meters for most equipment.

Intelligent transport system (ITS)

An intelligent transportation system (ITS) is an advanced application which, without embodying intelligence as such, aims to provide innovative services relating to different modes of transport and traffic management and enable users to be better informed and make safer, more coordinated, and 'smarter' use of transport networks.


In computing this is the delay before a transfer of data begins following an instruction for its transfer. For the case study, this would relate to how quickly a car could react to a situation after an instruction or decision was made.

Light detection and ranging (LIDAR)

This is a detection system which works on the principle of radar, but uses light from a laser.

Markkula (Santa Clara) ethical decision-making model

Near field communication (NFC)

Near-field communication is a set of communication protocols that enable two electronic devices, one of which is usually a portable device such as a smartphone, to establish communication by bringing them within 4 cm of each other.


a system for detecting the presence, direction, distance, and speed of aircraft, ships, and other objects, by sending out pulses of radio waves which are reflected off the object back to the source.

Smart roads

Smart roads is a term for a number of different proposals to incorporate technologies into roads for generating solar energy, forimproving the operation of autonomous cars, for lighting, and for monitoring the condition of the road.

Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) scale

Trolley problem

The trolley problem is a thought experiment in ethics. The general structure of the problem is this:

A runaway trolley is heading down the tracks toward five workers who will all be killed if the trolley proceeds on its present course. Adam is standing next to a large switch that can divert the trolley onto a different track. The only way to save the lives of the five workers is to divert the trolley onto another track that only has one worker on it. If Adam diverts the trolley onto the other track, this one worker will die, but the other five workers will be saved.

Should Adam flip the switch, killing the one worker but saving the other five?

A runaway trolley is heading down the tracks toward five workers who will all be killed if the trolley proceeds on its present course. Adam is on a footbridge over the tracks, in between the approaching trolley and the five workers. Next to him on this footbridge is a stranger who happens to be very large. The only way to save the lives of the five workers is to push this stranger off the footbridge and onto the tracks below where his large body will stop the trolley. The stranger will die if Adam does this, but the five workers will be saved.

Should Adam push the stranger off the footbridge, killing him but saving the five workers?

The trolley problem highlights a basic tension between two ideas of moral thought. The utilitarian perspective suggests that most appropriate action is the one that achieves the greatest good for the greatest number. Meanwhile, the Deontological perspective asserts that certain actions – like killing an innocent person – are just wrong, even if they have good consequences. In both versions of the trolley problem above, utilitarians say you should sacrifice one to save five, while deontologists say you should not.

Should a self-driving car protect the life of its passengers, even at the expense of a greater number of pedestrians? Here too, our intuitions are inconsistent: we want other people’s cars to maximize the number of lives saved – but think our own car should protect us at all costs. As our technologies become increasingly capable of making moral decisions, understanding our own moral intuitions becomes all the more crucial.

Ubiquitous computing

Ubiquitous computing is a concept in software engineering and computer science where computing is made to appear anytime and everywhere.


the idea that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority.

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) protocol

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V communication) is the wireless transmission of data between motor vehicles. The goal of V2V communication is to prevent accidents by allowing vehicles in transit to send position and speed data to one another over an ad hoc mesh network.

Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) protocol

Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I or v2i) is a communication model that allows vehicles to share information with the components that support a country's highway system. Similar to vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, V2I uses dedicated short range communication (DSRC) frequencies to tranfer data.

Other Resources

Paper 1

Slightly different examinations for SL and HL, based on answering 20 mark questions on a selection of the course topics.

Paper 2

Exactly the same examination for SL and HL, based on answering questions on an unseen article.

Extended Essay

Details and recommendations for students considering writing their Extended Essay in ITGS.

Command Terms

How to approach examination questions that use each of the prescribed command terms for ITGS.