The Ministry of Economic Affairs is reviewing a proposal for a self-driving bus in Taipei that would begin testing on Xinyi Road and open for a public trial as early as the second quarter next year.
“If road test results are good, we will open it for passengers to ride,” Taipei Department of Transportation Director Chen Hsueh-tai (陳學台) said on Saturday.
Road tests and possible future operations would occur after midnight, when Taipei’s MRT railway system or buses are unavailable, he said.
Photo: Tsai Ya-hua, Taipei Times
The project was proposed by Turing Drive Inc, a local company that has run two successful tests at Taichung-based Lihpao Land (麗寶樂園) and the Taoyuan Agriculture Expo, he said.
Running on Xinyi Road’s bus lane late at night requires no lane changing and affects fewer people during the test period, he added.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications would issue a trial bus plate after the proposal is approved, followed by a testing period of two to three months from 12:01am to 2am, before opening bus for free public trails from 12:01am to 5am, he said.
Sensors would be installed at wider intersections to help the bus to recognize traffic signs, and the testing speed would be set at 30kph, department officials said, adding that the law requires a staff member to ride the bus for manual intervention in the case of an emergency.
Cameras installed on the bus would monitor real-time traffic situations and report driving conditions to Turing Drive and the city government, they said.
Taiwan would follow a global trend in limiting the buses to late-night operation, as current technology is not mature enough yet to run them during the day, Chen said.
Two years ago, the city government closed the two-way bus lane on Xinyi Road to test French company 7Star Lake’s driverless shuttle EZ10, which Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) rode. However, the bus failed to distinguish traffic lights, and did not pass the review.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan