Taiwan’s ITRI to work on self-driving electric buses

Production of 10 buses will start in 2020

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ITRI and Mobiletron are working on 10 self-driving electric buses.

ITRI and Mobiletron are working on 10 self-driving electric buses. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院) signed an agreement with Mobiletron Electronics Co., Ltd. (車王電子) Friday (Dec. 27) to jointly design and manufacture 10 self-driving electric buses.

The first vehicle could roll off the assembly line as early as the first quarter of next year, according to a CNA report.

ITRI described the plan as the largest cooperation project between the private and public sectors involving self-driving vehicles, encompassing 14 Taiwanese manufacturers of all types of car parts, from engines to instrument panels.

Mobiletron will complete a new factory in early 2021 near the Taichung harbor, CNA reported.

An affiliate of the company is planning to sell more than 100 electric buses, or their chassis and engine systems, in 2020, with a factory in Taoyuan as the main production unit.

Even though the company is currently focused on the domestic market, it also wants to export its buses to Southeast Asia and the Americas.

The trend toward electric vehicles and “smart transportation” is a worldwide phenomenon, and Taiwan’s manufacturing sector could become a significant part of that trend, CNA quoted Mobiletron management as saying.