Taipei, Sept. 26 (CNA) Taipei citizens will be able to participate in the final stage of an autonomous bus development program, by taking a midnight trial run on the Xinyi bus lane starting Sept. 30, officials said Saturday.
Interested passengers must first register for one of the six road sections, ranging from 1 to 1.7 kilometers, on the path between the Taipei 101 skyscraper and Hangzhou S. Road, said Department of Information Technology official Wu Chien-ni.
One ride will be given each night. It will depart from the Taipei 101 at 0:30 a.m., head westward to the Xinyi and Hangzhou intersection before U-turning to the Xinyi and Guangfu intersection at 2:15 a.m., she said.
Each ride will take 15 minutes and accept 15 passengers on the 6-meter-long vehicle operated by Turing Drive Inc., with registration details to be disclosed next Monday.
"There will still be staff on the vehicle during the test ride to assure safety," she said, adding that the shuttle, which is designed to carry 34 passengers, will travel at lower than 15 km per hour.
The driverless vehicle will be able to lower its speed when it detects pedestrians within an 8-10 meter range, and brake when intruders are five meters away, she said.
The program set up by both the Taipei government and the company started in February with street mapping and infrastructure building, followed by test rides without passengers starting in May, she said.
Future application of the smart bus remains unknown, but according to the company, the program was aimed at facilitating driverless bus transportation development during late hours, in remote areas and for last-mile service from a transportation hub to a final destination.
Many cities in Taiwan have been developing autonomous vehicles, including those connecting the Danhai Light Rail in New Taipei, at Taoyuan International Airport, and between Changhua Coastal Industrial Park and Lugang Township in central Taiwan.
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