This week on Mobility Moments, Auto Futures speaks with Automotive Research & Testing Center President, Jerry Wang, to discuss its new WinBus; a smart, autonomous vehicle built solely in Taiwan.
So Jerry, tell me about ARTC?
The Automotive Research & Testing Center was established in 1990 by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, R.O.C. ARTC devoted itself to investing in innovative technology, autonomous driving and advance vehicle systems. We also cooperated with the international institutions to improve the R&D and testing capabilities to provide complete services from troubleshooting, strategy formulation, design improvements and performance verification. Therefore, we established a global certification process reducing export difficulties, promoting MIT products, and enhancing the development of the automotive industry.
What was the idea behind the WinBus?
Taiwan plays an important role in the global automotive parts supply but lacks its own auto brand to support the vehicle platform for advance study. WinBus is one of the platforms to offer local auto suppliers a good chance to demonstrate their capability to face the CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric) era of automobiles.
Following your ‘sandbox’ operation, what will be the process to getting this on the road for public use?
In addition to being a platform for technical demonstration and discussing the future regulation for land transport, we try to figure out what is the most suitable business model for this kind of vehicle. We are currently discussing new possibilities with several bus service providers and local governments.
What will be the main use cases of this autonomous vehicle once approved?
In our scenario, there can be many use cases, including short-distance shuttle services, operation in tourist areas and theme parks, or even nighttime city services.
What makes Taiwan and its businesses so special in the global connected car market?
As a small island, with a high ICT service penetration rate and strong semiconductor basis for autonomous vehicles, Taiwan is a very good test bed for new technology implementation. With over 14 million motorcycles and scooters around each corner, C-V2X application can be a very important segment in future Taiwan ITS services.
Do you think the region is overlooked?
Since CASE mobility is new for everyone, each technology implementation will be focused in its own country. That’s why we launched the WinBus platform as Taiwan’s pioneer in AV/CV and to get global and local immersion players’ attention. Up to now, the work has been quite smooth and local team members still work hard to roll out their new ideas in every sandbox operation.
Looking in from the outside, what makes Taiwan such an attractive place for self-driving vehicles?
The first is government support in this new technology, whether that is the central government or local ones, which speeds up the tests we need. The second is the strong linkage between research institutes and industries that makes new technology development not only for the big tiers. The third is that we moderate cross-city distance and good ICT infrastructure across the island, which offers easy assessment for AV technology.
Looking forward, how do you expect the autonomous market to evolve towards 2030, from both an innovation and regulatory standpoint?
Autonomous driving is a highly integrated technology that will create new possibilities for the auto industry. But combined with people’s acceptance, we believe that the major SAE Lv4/Lv5 systems, with some regulated limitation, will be implemented in public transportation or logistic services first. Up to SAE Level3 capability will be the key focus for passenger cars or personal mobility and the regulation will also focus on this area. Technology will always lead the regulation.
As we foresee 2030, autonomous vehicles, and the rest of CASE, will be a major part of our life and we should prepare for it.