The Ministry of Transportation and Communications is seeking to expand the use of drones to deliver mail, inspect bridges and conduct other services, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said yesterday.
Chunghwa Post on April 22 tested drones to deliver packages from Pingtung County’s Donggang Township (東港) to the outlying island of Siaoliuchiou (小琉球) 13km away.
The Directorate-General of Highways on April 19 and 20 used drones to inspect Wuling Bridge (武嶺橋) on Provincial Highway No. 3 in Taoyuan’s Dasi District (大溪) during maintenance work.
Photo: Chen Hsin-yu, Taipei Times
Both were pilot projects under a program that would also allow drone developers to test their gear under ministry supervision at seaports, highways and freeways, among other locations, the Institute of Transportation said.
“In other countries, drones are used to deliver packages. Chunghwa Post, as a state-run firm, is obligated to deliver mail and packages to residents in mountainous areas and on outlying islands. The firm is tasked to test drones in its logistics services,” Wang said on the sidelines of a drone exhibition.
Mail delivery is expected to run more smoothly once drones are widely deployed, which would also lend support to the expansion of the domestic drone industry, he said.
“Taiwan has the technology and personnel needed to develop an uncrewed aerial vehicle industry. We should ensure that drone applications are closely connected with the industry,” Wang said. “Apart from working with the Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Education to support local innovators, we will also work with the Ministry of Economic Affairs to help local firms form partnerships with international manufacturers.”
In other news, the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday approved an amendment to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例), which would limit the number of reportable breaches of traffic regulations to 46 items.
The amendment stipulates that police can only issue multiple tickets to drivers for breaching the same rule if those breaches occur more than six minutes apart or on different blocks.
Last year, the police received about 6 million reports of traffic rule breaches, four times more than in 2016, Wang said.
“That has created a tremendous burden on our law enforcement personnel. Therefore, we want to clearly list the reportable offenses of traffic rules to eliminate frivolous ones,” he said.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
PIVOTAL ROLE: Taiwan’s importance in the global chip supply chain can be bolstered by domestic equipment manufacturing, President Tsai Ing-wen said Efforts must be made to better secure Taiwan’s place in the global supply chain by localizing production of equipment and facilities used by the semiconductor industry, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. Tsai discussed the issue during a meeting with representatives from the Taiwan Electronic Equipment Industry Association at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Product shortages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — particularly of automotive chips — highlighted the pivotal role of Taiwan in the global supply chain, she said. Tsai thanked the association for cooperating with the government on the shared goal of localizing production of important semiconductor industry equipment.
SEPARATE CASE? A woman tested positive when she went with her daughter to be tested, because her daughter had taken the same bus to school as a steakhouse worker The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 10 local COVID-19 cases, six of whom had visited a steakhouse in Taoyuan where an infection cluster has been reported. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that of the 10 local infections, one case — No. 17,928 — is a Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport disease prevention staffer who works in the area where inbound travelers collect their saliva for a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and sometimes at the fever screening station. The staffer had tested negative in a PCR test on Jan. 9 and
TRACING UNDER WAY: The CECC has identified six transmission chains among 25 recently confirmed COVID-19 cases, including those linked to a restaurant and a bank The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 54 new COVID-19 infections — 44 imported and 10 local — and identified six transmission chains among local cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the imported cases are 18 who tested positive upon arrival at the airport and 26 who tested positive during quarantine. Of the local cases, seven are associated with a cluster infection at a Tasty Steak (西堤牛排) outlet in Taoyuan’s Zhongli District (中壢), one is linked to a family of four with COVID-19 reported on Monday, one is a family member of an