November 22, 2020

Development of Autonomous Bus in Taiwan

Yi-Ling Wei from ISTI, Taiwan Smart City Development Project Office of Industrial

 Development Bureau, M.O.E.A.

As Taiwan’s population structure evolved, problems such as traffic jams, parking, and air pollution ensued in highly populated cities. For this reason, the government has actively developed smart cities in hopes of solving social problems through technology. Since 2018, the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB), Ministry of Economic Affairs (M.O.E.A.) has implemented the project, “Smart City Development Project ,” through public-private-partnership (PPP), where local enterprises, academic institutions, and start-ups are encouraged to participate in the test run on the application at service sites in hopes of facilitating industrial development. To give consideration to international trends and local demand, the IDB has conceived bottom-up approach and top-down approach. Centered on “local demand,” bottom-up approach allows city (county) governments to issue request for proposals based on their own needs and gaps, so as to step up the popularization of smart applications across Taiwan; focusing on international trends and in line with the “Asia Silicon Valley Development Plan” promoted by the National Development Council, top-down approach solicits request for proposals based on the current key international technology trends and Taiwan’s national conditions and future developments, allowing local enterprises to work hand in hand for urban and rural development. At present, request for proposals for future-proof technologies such as artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, edge computing, blockchain, and 5G have been solicited to build a supply chain for smart services in Taiwan.

 

Taking the application of smart transportation as an example, Taiwan is facing a long-term shortage of bus drivers. And when we take the city of Taipei as an example, the city lacks as many as 1000 bus drivers, the situation of the shortage of bus drivers has lasted for a long time since 20 years ago. The long-term storage of work force leads to long work hours, which lets the problem of bus driver shortage gradually coming to the surface in recent years. Therefore, Turing of Taiwan cooperates with Lihpao Land to provide auto pilot service for four routes in the vast Lihpao Land, integrating four major technologies of auto pilot (positioning, perception, decision-making and vehicle control), and carries new camera lens, radar and lidar sensors to detect whether other things on the road would interfere with auto pilot, judge traffic rules and identify traffic signs. After calculation by the vehicle computing platform, the optimized driving order will be transmitted to the steering and braking system of the vehicle, so as to complete the automatic driving in the most safe and comfortable way. In addition, Turing has introduced auto pilot buses into the exclusive bus lane of Xinyi Road in Taipei. At present, it has entered the test stage of "Operation without passengers", which is expected to start to carry passengers in September 2020. The goal is to achieve the SAE Level 3 of intelligent driving, which will help Taipei city bus service to achieve the goal of 24-hour uninterrupted operation.