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ITRI Showcases Self-driving Bus in Taiwan

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【Summary】Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is responsible for incubating more than 270 companies from various competitive sectors.

Michael Cheng    Jul 09, 2018 5:14 PM PT
ITRI Showcases Self-driving Bus in Taiwan
author: Michael Cheng   

Taiwan is steadily hitting its driverless milestones, as the country has been rigorously testing self-driving vehicles. Recently, local officials from Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) showcased a driverless bus for public use.

During the demonstration, the autonomous shuttle was able to take on a series of basic driving maneuvers and minor road obstacles, including rainy conditions and the presence of other vehicles on the road. Other participants in the project include the following groups: Taiwan's Ministry of Education, Mobiletron Electronics and National Taiwan University.

ITRI Self-driving Bus

ITRI's autonomous buses makes use of artificial intelligence and a connected network to support its driverless maneuvers on the road. Capable of driving at speeds up to 60 kilometers per hour, the units can navigate through dark environments, such as tunnels.

At the moment, researchers are completing other types of testing programs to improve the efficiency of the software that powers the buses. After this phase, the organization will roll out a public demonstration at the Taichung Flora Expo.

"The reason to invest in driverless cars is to drive the industry," said Chen Cheng-Foo, former senior general manager of Hua-chuang Automobile Information Technical Center. "My advice is that the government takes the initiative to give a clear policy framework so that all the talent and resources can be integrated."

Founded in 1973, ITRI is currently pioneering several technologies worldwide. The institution is responsible for incubating more than 270 companies from various competitive sectors. With branches in the US, Europe and Japan, the group has partnered with Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Corning Glass and Ericsson.

Public Trials in Taiwan

Although ITRI claims to be the first autonomous bus in the country (according to Taiwan News), there have been other automotive groups and startups that have successfully deployed driverless programs in the location, including EZ10.

Furthermore, last year, the Taipei City government deployed a self-driving bus in the area for a five-day trial. Interestingly, the unit operated at night and shuttled passengers on a dedicated lane. The route, which extended roughly 500 meters long, operated at a busy stop and required cones for guidance at the designated loading station.

Many passengers reported feeling at ease during the ride, with several residents looking forward to more autonomous transportation solutions in the future. It seems that the country's strategy in slowly introducing driverless buses via public trials is effective in educating individuals and decreasing misconceptions about the technology.

"The test has been a success, and we will soon be planning for the next stage of the trial, which will expand both the distance covered and time traveled," explained Taipei Deputy Mayor Lin Chin-rong.

Taiwan has implemented a handful of measures designed to streamline the testing of autonomous vehicles. Earlier this year, the country announced a local testing ground for researchers to conduct trials.

Located in Beitou Shilin Science Park, the location is filled with smart infrastructure to support connected equipment. So far, a driverless PEV tricycle, bus and golf cart have been tested at the site.

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