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Taipei to test new self-driving shuttles in May

Taiwanese startup finalizing autonomous shuttle system that will operate late-night hours in Taipei

Nine-passenger shuttles (right) and 34-passenger shuttles (Turing Drive photo)

Nine-passenger shuttles (right) and 34-passenger shuttles (Turing Drive photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Starting in May, the Taipei City Government and Turing Drive Inc. ( 台灣智慧駕駛) will begin testing the new autonomous shuttle service regularly during off-peak hours on dedicated bus lanes along Xinyi Road.

Turing Drive, which has partnered with the city, got the go-ahead from the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), which oversees the operation of all autonomous vehicles in Taiwan. The company was officially granted permission to proceed on Feb. 18th.

The autonomous vehicles (AV) were developed in the hope of addressing the shortage of bus drivers by serving as late-night public transport.

All of the required infrastructure, such as edge-computing cameras at intersections to send out real-time warnings to the vehicles, will be in place by April, followed by the testing period in May, during which the AVs' systems will familiarize themselves with all likely scenarios.

The shuttles are projected to enter service in September. They will transport passengers back and forth in dedicated bus lanes on Xinyi Road between its intersections with Zhongshan S. Rd. and Keelung Rd., a route 12.3 km in length.

Three electric shuttles will be deployed, including 4-meter models with a nine-passenger capacity and six-meter models that hold up to 34 passengers. At the early stages, the maximum speed will be set at 15 kilometers per hour, and the shuttles will operate between 12:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.

Taipei to test new self-driving shuttles in May
Dedicated lanes for self-driving buses stretch along Xinyi Road in Taipei.