The City of Tainan is launching its first revenue-generating self-driving bus programme with LILEE Systems, a technology and system integration provider.
The service will cover two business districts in the fifth-largest city in Taiwan, starting later this year, and is part of a two-year smart transportation development plan.
Based on rail-control principles, the bus will run on fixed routes, remotely managed by a cloud-based, centralised operations control centre (OCC).
The Tainan City Government and LILEE Systems expect to start revenue-generating services in the second half of 2020, according to a statement from ILEE Systems, which is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices in Taipei.
The launch follows a self-driving proof-of-concept conducted by LILEE in 2018 and a proof-of-service in 2019.
“The success proved that Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) enhances safety and passenger experience in public transportation compared to LRT (light rail transit) and BRT (bus rapid transit),” LILEE said.
“The autonomous bus project opens new opportunities for our city of ample technology resources to cultivate driverless research and development on artificial intelligence, vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications, high-definition maps, robotics and remote control,” said Ming-Te Wang, director of Bureau of Transportation, Tainan City Government. “We look forward to the partnership with LILEE Systems to enhance the current public transportation system with autonomous buses and together expand the sustainable business model from Tainan to the global market.”
The city plans to open up more public roads for autonomous vehicles operations after safety verification and performance evaluation. The Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) system will continue to evolve based on riders’ feedback and ongoing technology development.
“We are excited about the collaboration with local communication providers and transportation companies for route design, roadside infrastructure development and field tests,” said Jia-Ru Li, CEO of LILEE Systems.
“Given the support of the Tainan City Government, this project will set an example of how governments can use ART systems to solve public transportation challenges, such as increasing travel demands and driver shortage.”