Wed, May 26, 2010 - Page 12 News List

‘Smart’ bus market looks bright for Taiwanese firms

TELEMATICS DREAMSA consortium of high-tech firms working on a way to make buses intelligent expects tremendous revenue if Chinese lines adopt its system

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan Telematics Industry Alliance (TTIA, 台灣車載資通訊產業聯盟) is joining forces with the government to sell a locally initiated intelligent bus standard and related solutions to China starting next month, eyeing the massive market across the Taiwan Strait to generate the next possible cash cow for Taiwanese companies.

The TTIA and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday showcased what they claimed was the world’s first intelligent bus standard.

They said that exponential business opportunities would be created if bus companies across the Taiwan Strait adopted the solutions.

The solutions offer a number of intelligent features: alerts to warn drivers if they fall asleep or warn passengers if they miss their ­designated stop, real-time bus stop information on bus screens that also synchronize with passengers’ phones, as well as information about things to do at various bus stops.

“In the past, IT companies were working individually to sell and develop their respective intelligent solutions for vehicles,” Advantech Co (研華) chief technology officer Jeff Chen (陳贊鴻) told reporters.

“Now we have a common platform to link them all up and help us move into overseas markets,” he said.

Advantech is a member of the TTIA, an alliance representing about 100 high-tech companies including Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) and Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) in developing telematics, or intelligent transportation systems (ITS), used in vehicles.

Earlier this month, the TTIA joined the “Vehicle ­Infrastructure Transportation ­Affiliates ­Laboratory” (VITAL), a global organization led by the University of California, Berkeley, to dedicate resources into the research and development of ITS.

The TTIA created a working group, which includes about 10 members, to work on the ITS for buses, Chen said.

Statistics provided by the MOEA showed that 5.3 million buses are expected to be in use globally in 2013, of which between 6 percent and 8 percent will be using ITS.

In the Chinese market alone, as much as 8 percent of the 2.3 million buses believed to be operating at present are also forecast to turn their vehicles “smart” in 2013, which would present tremendous opportunity for Taiwanese companies if their standard was adopted by Chinese authorities.

Taiwanese will be able to experience smart buses at the Taipei Flora Expo in November.

MOEA officials said 20 such vehicles ferrying visitors from different sites at the expo will be used.

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