Taipei residents starting on Wednesday next week can ride a driverless bus during a midnight trial service on Xinyi Road, officials said yesterday.
Passengers must first register for one of six sections, ranging from 1 to 1.7km, on a route between Taipei 101 and Hangzhou S Road, Department of Information Technology official Wu Chien-ni (吳茜妮) said.
One ride is to be offered each night, and would depart from Taipei 101 at 12:30am and head west toward the intersection of Xinyi and Hangzhou roads before turning toward the intersection of Xinyi and Guangfu roads at 2:15am, Wu said.
Photo courtesy of the Taipei City Government Department of Transportation
Each ride would take about 15 minutes, and the 6m long vehicle, operated by Turing Drive Co, can hold 34 passengers, but only 15 would be permitted during the trial service, she said, adding that registration details would be disclosed tomorrow.
“There will still be staff in the vehicle during the test ride to ensure safety,” she said, adding that the shuttle would not exceed 15kph.
The driverless vehicle is able to slow down when it detects pedestrians within an 8m to 10m range, and brake when it detects a person within 5m of the shuttle, Wu said.
The autonomous bus program, set up by the Taipei City Government and Turing Drive, started in February with street mapping and infrastructure building, followed by test rides without passengers in May, she said.
Plans for implementing the bus system are uncertain, but the program was designed to test driverless bus transportation during late hours, in rural areas and as part of a last-mile service from a transportation hub to a final destination, the company said.
Many cities have been developing autonomous vehicles, including services connecting to the Danhai Light Rail in New Taipei City, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, and between Changhua Coastal Industrial Park (彰化濱海工業區) and Lugang Township (鹿港) in Changhua County.
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