By Jia-Jheng Yeh
What comes into your mind when it comes to ways of moving around? Is it walking, driving, or taking a plane? To effectively reduce the travel time and boost the economy at the same time, countries around the world are developing autonomous vehicles. It is expected that smart transportation will drive a new business model.
Breaking the Boundaries of Traditional Vehicles: Taiwan’s First Self-Driving Car–EZ10
Taiwan’s very first autonomous vehicle– EZ10 driverless shuttle has been under road-tests at Shuiyuan Campus of National Taiwan University since 2017. Both its exterior and interior design resemble those of the cable cars at Taipei Maokong Gondola as well as Taipei MRT. Equipped with six sensors for light detection and ranging to prevent collision, EZ10 has on its roof a GPS system to determine the exact position on the road. It is also equipped with cameras and sensors which can record traffic-related incidents on the street to collect information for urban traffic planning and improvement.
Uber Joins Hands with Nuro for Self-driving Delivery
In recent years, delivery services such as UberEats and foodpanda have become more popular. Most of the orders are delivered by couriers using different vehicles. Now, Uber is in discussion with Nuro, a Silicon Valley company developing autonomous delivery vehicles, for driverless delivery. To reduce the time for drivers to pick up meals at restaurants, the low-speed vehicle (LSV) produced by Nuro can serve as the pickup point for orders, where human drivers can take over the meals and deliver them to customers. By doing so, labor costs can be reduced and more orders and profit can be made.
Audi Develops World’s First Level 3 Autonomous Vehicle
Audi, which has defeated Google and Tesla and has been developing self-driving cars for ten years, believes that autonomous driving is more than just safe transportation. The goal is to help drivers save about one hour on average in the daily commute so that people’s time can be put into better usage. Audi’s greatest achievement in self-driving cars lies in 2017 Audi A8, featuring its Level 3 self-driving technology. The model allows self-driving without human operation, which exceeds Tesla’s Level 2 vehicle that requires drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel even in self-driving mode.
With the continuous upgrading of technology in automotive intelligence and electrification, unmanned vehicles are bound to become a major trend in the automotive industry in the future. However, as unmanned driving involves many technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and ground mapping, there is still room for improvement. At present, most of the unmanned driving tests are performed in areas with few people and vehicles. It is expected that with continuous improvement, data collection, and system calculation, unmanned vehicles will soon become prevalent around the world.