Taiwan drafts the world's first-ever rule to allow unmanned device test drive


The photo shows a driving demo of an unmanned mini bus in Taipei City during the SmartCity Expo in late March, 2018. (By Taiwan News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The Executive Yuan passed a draft on Thursday to allow testings of unmanned aerial, underwater, and ground vehicles in Taiwan, which is said to be the first of its kind in the world.

Also known as the enhanced regulatory sandboxes to test technologies such as autonomous vehicles, the draft is set to allow testing in an open space after it's been run successfully in a closed space and is capable of demonstrating its innovation capability. The period allowed to test on roads will be one year, according to the draft, and can be extended for one more year. 

A grace period for test running could be given to allow the test period to extend to up to four years if the experiment project is encountering other regulatory obstacles and the authorities think an amendment is needed. 

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a statement that the draft is designed to spark the development of new technologies and businesses by creating a regulatory environment more friendly to the industry after becoming a law. Also, the authorities will streamline the application process to reduce paperwork time, with cross-departmental collaboration to be in place to tackle all sorts of regulatory problems for the project operators. 

The draft is expected to be reviewed in the next legislative session and to be marked as a priority bill, according to the MOEA.