Taiwan, globally renowned for its world-class IT and micro-electronics, has never been absent from the vigorous development of the autonomous-driving vehicle industry.
In conjunction with many experimental projects running worldwide, the high-tech island has launched several self-driving vehicle experimental projects in 2020, including the very first, and the most eye-catching projects executed by Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC), Taiwan, the leading transportation vehicle testing and R&D in Taiwan.
ARTC announced that WinBus, Taiwan’s first homegrown, pure-electric, and a SAE LEVEL-4 autonomous minibus, won a license for a one-year experimental “sandbox” operation sponsored by “Unmanned Vehicles Technology Innovative Experimentation Program” under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), R.O.C.
Initial stages of the experimental operation has included a two-month self-driving test operation for collecting related technical and operational data; then began providing free-experiencing shuttle services to the general public in June 2020.
Developed and built by ARTC, the WinBus is a 100% Made-in-Taiwan autonomous vehicle achieving SAE LEVEL-4 driving automation; meaning that the autonomous minibus does not require human interaction in most circumstances; however, a human still has the option to manually override.
With an eye-catching, oval-shaped and streamlined body, the “MIT” WinBus was crafted by ARTC and a group of more than 20 suppliers in the local supply chain, including chassis, powertrain, battery, body, and key systems for sensing, decision-making and connection.
The self-driving minibus features many most-advanced technologies and key-systems supplied by Taiwanese suppliers, while integrated by ARTC. Its onboard systems make immediate decisions to control different subsystems, such as steering, brake, acceleration…, through various types of sensors, including cameras, Lidars, and radars, as well as other high-techs like high-precision positioning, AI sensor-fusion and intelligent decision-making.
A tie-up between ARTC and other local partners, including Kingwaytek Technology, Chunghwa Telecom, and Acer ITS; is challenging the world’s longest-range public shuttle service through the sandbox operation.
In the experimental operation, the WinBus has to overcome a big variety of traffic conditions and complexities throughout a 12.3-km fixed route with different scenarios; including T intersections without traffic lights, adaptive vehicle braking by encountering pedestrians or other objects, fast/slow-lane switching, adaptive braking again front vehicles, traffic-light identification & reaction, turning at intersections and stopping at bus-stops.
The project will be tested under the very complicated traffic conditions in Taiwan, and need to showcase the vehicle’s capabilities in providing safe and comfortable shuttle services in-between key scenery spots in Lukang, central Taiwan.