Next week , August 1-4, will see driverless buses hit the street from 1 am to 4 am for a test run. The buses have already been in operation at the National Taiwan University campus. The test will be conducted on a closed section of Xinyi road bus lane between Fuxing South Road and Dunhua South Road. The route the driverless bus will travel is 463 meters long. The bus can hold up to 12 people and will have focus groups testing the bus and providing feedback on the last 2 nights.
Mayor Ko of Taipei showed his support for the project and said “The government should be bold, embrace innovation, and experiment” 7Starlake Co. is the company behind the bus, their president(Martin Ting) said he is hoping that if the test goes well they will want to do a larger scale test in the future.
The driverless buses can be used at peak hours to take pressure off the traffic system, and to relieve drivers from having to do late night shifts. These all come as part of Taiwan’s plan to show it is a place for innovation and that they are leaders in the smart city space. The French Office in Taipei director, Benoit Guidee, said France would love to work more closely with Taipei in its smart city initiative.
So don’t worry if you see blocked off streets at 1 am and a ghost bus floating around next week. It’s just the tech companies and the government running tests.