Taoyuan airport begins driverless shuttle bus service trial

09/17/2020 09:50 PM
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Taipei, Sept. 17 (CNA) Taoyuan International Airport has launched a driverless shuttle service on a trial run basis as part of the government's efforts to push for a "smart airport," Taoyuan International Airport Corp. (TIAC), which operates the main gateway in Taiwan, said Thursday.

In a statement, TIAC said the first phase of the trial service started Thursday and will continue until Sept. 22 in Section C of the large P4 car park in the airport's second terminal. During the period, a driverless shuttle bus will take passengers to where their cars are parked.

Amid COVID-19, airport passengers now have to take vehicles designated by the government or have to be picked up by relatives or friends to avoid the virus spreading instead of taking regular public transport.

TIAC said the company has assigned airport staffers and invited students and teachers from nearby schools and employees from local institutions to participate in the first stage of trial.

The company will collect opinions from participants to measure their satisfaction as a base for revising the service and upgrading the technology, TIAC added.

The shuttle bus service will use vehicles provided by Taoyuan City Government and technology developed by Taipei-based Kingwaytek Technology Co., TIAC said.

Lin Ying-fan (林映帆), a marketing manager at Kingwaytek, told CNA that the driverless shuttle bus is equipped with nine camera lenses, a global positioning system, an inertial measurement unit as well as optical radar sensors to allow the computer system to judge the road conditions.

During the trial, the driverless shuttle bus will go through a wide range of scenarios such as taking turns, avoiding hitting barriers, identifying pedestrians, braking suddenly and stopping at designated locations, TIAC said.

In the second phase of the trial, TIAC said, the driverless shuttle bus will operate on the road at high speed and take passengers in and out of the airport.

However, the timeframe for the second stage of the trial run has not yet been set as TIAC has to first apply to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to obtain a license for the bus to go on the road.

TIAC said the company plan to launch an app to allow passengers to use the driverless shuttle bus service.

(By Wu Jui-chi and Frances Huang)

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