Taiwan: Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC), the most important transportation-vehicle testing and R&D institute in Taiwan, has unveiled Taiwan’s first indigenous self-driving pure-electric minibus–WinBus–a demonstration of local autonomous-vehicle R&D and supply-chain capability.
Shen Jong-Chin, Minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), and VIPs witnessed the unveiling of the high-tech autonomous transportation vehicle, which was developed by ARTC in cooperation with a group of local suppliers, under the sponsorship of Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT), MOEA.
The WinBus, according to ARTC, achieves the capability of SAE Level 4 autonomous-driving (high-automation) standard. In fixed or closed fields, the WinBus can fully accomplish all environment-monitoring and self-driving tasks without human intervention. The Made-in-Taiwan (MIT) minibus is an integration of more than 20 suppliers in local supply chain, including chassis, powertrain, battery, body, and key systems for sensing, decision-making, network connection etc.
Matching Global Trend
Minister Shen pointed out to further promote the development of Taiwan’s autonomous-vehicle industry, the government has been aggressively integrating more resources on the island; and all efforts are made to help the rising line in Taiwan jump onto the global stage and compete with global competitors. In conjunction with hundreds of cities worldwide that have begun to carry out autonomous-vehicle pilot-run or commercial projects, of which about 50% are for public transportation, the MIT WinBus will help shape a more matured local supply chain, as well as make Taiwan an autonomous-driving system/vehicle exporter in the future.
Up to date, Shen added, at least 5 major cities and 9 transportation fields in Taiwan have expressed their willingness to introduce the WinBus business model; and the autonomous-vehicle transportation fields of commercial projects will be expected to gradually increase with more government incentives to be provided in the future.
Last Mile for Intelligent Transportation
Joe Huang, chairman of ARTC, pointed out that the announcement of the WinBus will be a key milestone for local autonomous-vehicle industry and public-transportation services.
In the fourth quarter on 2019, ARTC is scheduled to kick off a commercial operation project of autonomous-minibus with a team of private companies, offering shuttle-transport services in the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park for accumulating more operation credits. Finally, Huang stressed, their goal is the export of key systems and innovative business models of the WinBus to global customers.
The WinBus has pioneered into many new fields in local self-driving vehicle industry, which is expected to rapidly upgrade in conjunction with the artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G communication technologies. The self-driving minibus, Huang noted, will be the last mile in Taiwan to fulfill the goal of intelligent transportation, including both supply-chain integration and business opportunities.
Other features of the WinBus:
- Unman Self-driving: Through various sensors, including camera, Lidars, and radars etc., WinBus’ onboard systems make immediate decisions to control different sub-systems, such as steering, brake, acceleration; together achieving the Level 4 standard.
- Dual-axle Steering/Driving: The WinBus adopts the dual-axle steering/driving system design (two independent driving systems), making it can run forward/backward directly. There is no steering wheel, brake or accelerator pedal onboard.
- Safety First: Complying with national regulations of vehicle and electrical safety; while the WinBus is equipped with a bunch of active/passive safety systems onboard to achieve the highest safety standard.
- Innovative Transportation Solutions: The WinBus was developed to provide a new and innovative transportation solution to various requirements from local governments, including non-peak shuttle service, rural-area transportation, scenery-spot transport, or shuttle service at MRT etc.