Government-sponsored Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC) on August 26 unveiled WinBus, a prototype autonomous mini-bus completely developed by Taiwan-based enterprises under financial support from Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and ARTC’s system R&D and integration as well as testing, according to ARTC.
With R&D cost of about NT$40 million (US$1.28 million) and production cost of about NT$16 million, WinBus does not have a steering wheel or a brake pedal and can accommodate 15 passengers and run at a maximum speed of 52km/hour, ARTC said, adding that about 80% of components used in WinBus, including power system, chassis, battery system, body, sensor, decision-making system and connectivity, are produced by local makers. WinBus is a SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Level 4 autonomous vehicle, ARTC noted.
A consortium of Chunghwa Telecom, electronic map provider Kingwaytek Technology and smart transportation solution developer Acer ITS will be responsible for operational management of autonomous cars in the future, ARTC said. In the fourth quarter of 2019, ARTC will help the consortium apply for operating WinBus as shuttle mini-buses connecting tourism factories in Changhua Coastal Industrial Park, central Taiwan, where ARTC is located, ARTC noted. WinBus will then be operated as shuttle mini-buses elsewhere to accumulate operating experience for subsequent improvement, ARTC indicated. Commercial production of WinBus is scheduled for 2021.
The Taiwan government enacted Statute for Experiments of Innovations in Unmanned Vehicles in December 2018, paving the way for R&D and innovation in autonomous vehicles. MOEA plans to offer subsidies to boost practical operation of autonomous cars to carry passengers and/or goods in urban and remote areas in 2020. WinBus, a prototype autonomous mini-bus
Photo: Bryan Chuang, Digitimes, August 2019