The Taipei City Government and Turing Drive will begin trial runs of autonomous electric buses on a designated road in the city during off-peak hours in May 2020. The autonomous buses will run from 12:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. at 10-20km/hour during the trial on a bus-only lane.
Turing Drive recently received permission for the one-year project from the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) – which oversees the operation of all autonomous vehicles in Taiwan. Turing – a Taiwan startup specializing in autonomous driving system development – is the coordinator of the project, which also consists of ThinkTron, which is responsible for establishing high-resolution electronic maps; International Integrated Systems for connecting the trail run with the city’s traffic lights information system; AIMobile for installing cameras at road intersections; Tron-e Technology for making the autonomous electric buses; and, Trillion Green Energy for designing a control system for the vehicles.
The trials will use two 6m-long autonomous electric buses that hold up to 34 passengers and a 4m-long one with a nine-passenger capacity. The maximum speed will be set at 15 kilometers per hour for the trials – but the maximum speed and operating hours may increase afterward if certain conditions are met. The three autonomous electric buses will be in the POC (proof of concept) experimental stage to test their response to various scenarios during May through August, with technical staff members on board but no passengers. Based on results of the POC experiment, POS (proof of service) trials with passengers will be conducted from September 2020 to February 2021.