Taipei will see its first minibus — the EZ10 — traveling along exclusive bus lane on Xinyi Road! The vehicles will operate from 1 AM to 4 AM between August 1 and 5, as part of the City’s pilot program to test autonomous vehicle technology for its smart city initiative, Mayor Ko Wen-je announced at a press event on July 27.
According to Ko, the self-driving car experiment is already being conducted by National Taiwan University. He jokingly suggested that the public should not be frightened at the sight of a driverless bus in the middle of night when the minibus hits the road of Taipei.
The EZ10 is outfitted with six LIDAR sensors, allowing the vehicle to detect distance using its laser system, thereby avoiding impact. The first three days of the test-run will focus on collecting mapping and route-planning data needed to establish an autopilot system and testing bus lane system compatibility, while the remaining two days will target data regarding user experience and social acceptance.
Information Technology Commissioner Lee Wei-bin pointed out that addition to the collaboration between Smart City PMO and industry players, the implementation of the pilot program also involves effort by Land Administration Department (providing accurate GPS information), Transportation Department (arranging the test fields), and TCPD Traffic Division (carrying out traffic control).
Asked by the media whether the autonomous vehicle service will be launched officially during his tenure, the mayor reckoned that the bus will not be put into operation until the issues of infrastructure and amendment of traffic regulations have been addressed.