Wed, Oct 02, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Taiwan’s first domestically produced electric self-driving minibus

The self-driving, electrically powered Winbus drives amongst ordinary traffic on Lukang Road in Changhua County’s Lukang Township on Sept. 24.

Photo: Tang Shih-ming, Liberty Times

At a cost of NT$30 million (approx. US$966,000), Taiwan’s first domestically developed self-driving electric bus, Winbus, took to the road on Sept. 24 at a demonstration event at Changhua Coastal Industrial Park in the county’s Lukang Township. Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua, Changhua County Commissioner Wang Hui-mei and several other guests were given a preview ride in the Winbus, traveling at 30km per hour along roads in Lukang. During the demonstration, the vehicle simulated stopping for pedestrians and at traffic lights. At the event the deputy minister also signed a memorandum of understanding with Winbus’ developers to begin operating the self-driving vehicle on public roads within Lukang by the end of the year. Everyone hoped this would provide a boost to local industry.

The intention is for Winbus to operate on public roads within the bustling streets of tourist hotspots. Prior to the Winbus officially coming into service, deputy minister and the county commissioner, together with Automotive Research & Testing Center president Liao Ching-chiu and several other guests, boarded the sleekly-designed “smart bus,” loaded with futuristic technology, for a 4.4km journey from the testing center to the Taiwan Glass Gallery. En route, the Winbus successfully navigated a T-junction without traffic lights, identified and gave way to pedestrians, changed from the slow to the fast lane, applied the brakes in a controlled manner for vehicles in front, crossed traffic light junctions and turned left at an intersection before arriving at its destination.

Speaking to reporters, Wang Hui-mei said Changhua County Government will fully cooperate with the central government and businesses to enable the project to be expanded throughout the county, perhaps extending the system nationwide and even entering into international markets. Liao said the exterior modeling of the Winbus was carried out by Taiwanese designers and claimed that its capabilities outstrip that of any similar-sized self-driving minibuses currently in operation around the world, adding that Winbus heralds the achievement of a new milestone in “smart transportation.”

(Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times)





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