Taiwan to launch its first self-driving minibus in Changhua

Photo courtesy of CNA

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s first driverless minibus will hit the road Wednesday, in a trial run in Changhua County, the local government said Tuesday.

Dubbed “WinBus,” the autonomous minibus will drive along a 7.5-kilometer route in Changhua Coastal Industrial Park in Lugang Township, the county government said.

Along the way, it will go past prominent landmarks such as Brand’s Health Museum and Ribbon Museum, the Changhua County government said.

With all parts and components made in Taiwan, the WinBus was built by a chain of local industries, under the auspices of the Automotive Research and Testing Center (ARTC), Taiwan’s leading transportation-vehicle testing and R&D institute. Financial and technological support was provided by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

At a promotional event Tuesday, MOEA Vice Minister Lin Chuan-neng (林全能) said the Chuaghua industrial park was chosen for the public test drive because it is home to many companies in Taiwan’s automotive parts supply chain.

According to ARTC executive Weng Kuo-liang (翁國樑), the WinBus has the same type of autonomous technology as the self-driving vehicles that are produced by the American firm Tesla Inc.

The Changhua County government has invited members of the public to take the test ride on the bus Wednesday but said space will be limited.

People are advised to book in advance to avoid waiting in long lines, the county government said.

Pending a successful trial run, more self-driving buses will be put on the route, which may be expanded to 12.6km, the county government said.