CNA file photo

CRA Innovation & Technology – Taiwan

Taipei, July 22 (CNA) Taiwan was listed in 13th place on the 2020 Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI), which is published by KPMG and covers one of the most advanced areas of transport technology.

Taiwan was included for the first time in the rankings, in the third edition of the AVRI, and was one of five countries and jurisdictions that obtained a top rating for government-funded AV pilot programs, according to KPMG’s website.

KPMG, a global network of independent member firms offering audit, tax and advisory services, complies the AVRI by assessing 30 countries and jurisdictions in the broad areas of policy and legislation, technology and innovation, infrastructure, and consumer acceptance. Within those four areas, there are 28 sub-indices that are used to determine the rankings.

Steven Chen (陳文正), head of renewable, infrastructure, government and healthcare at KPMG Taiwan, said that while Taiwan lags behind some Western countries in terms of relevant legislation and infrastructure, it was the highlight of this year’s AVRI Index because it ranked 13th, ahead of Germany, Australia and France.

Taiwan started regular road tests of self-driving cars on Taipei City bus lanes in May this year, an amazing development that stunned KPMG International, Chen said.

On KPMG’s website, it also noted that in December 2018, Taiwan’s Legislature passed the Unmanned Vehicles Technology Innovative Experimentation Act that established a framework for testing road AVs, as well as drones, autonomous boats and other AVs. The bill included regulations for licensing vehicles, informing the public and making safety assessments, KPMG said.

The enactment of the law was followed in February 2019 by the opening of Taiwan CAR Lab for autonomous vehicle road-tests, V2V communication, and infrastructure design, KPMG said. The 1.75 hectare facility in Tainan focuses on situations likely to arise on Taiwan’s mixed-use, low-speed urban roads, according to KPMG.

It said that in 2018, there were 13.8 million motorcycles on Taiwan’s roads, twice the number of cars, in a country of 23 million people.

“Our driving conditions are quite close to those in many Asia-Pacific developing countries, although with better regulations,” KPMG Taiwan Manager Richard Hsu said. “Companies can come to Taiwan to test vehicles so they can adapt their driverless vehicle technology for those countries.”

According to KPMG, there have been other tests in Taiwan since the unmanned vehicle law took effect, including WinBus, an AV minibus that was launched in May 2020, with input from Chunghwa Telcom and mapping provider KingWayTek. The autonomous minibus has been operating on sightseeing routes from Changhua Coastal Industrial Park.

Generally, authorities in Taiwan are looking at ways of using AV for public transportation, to help reduce traffic congestion and resolve the shortage of night-time bus drivers, KPMG said.

Driverless minibuses have been in use in Taiwan since 2017, initially on the campus of National Taiwan University in Taipei. In February this year, the city decided to start a late-night trial service of autonomous buses, that will run 00:30-2:30 a.m. Monday to Friday, with road trials scheduled to begin in September, KPMG noted.

The KPMG AVRI Index was topped this year by Singapore, the Netherlands and Norway, in that order.

(By Flor Wang and Wu Chia-jung)

Enditem/pc

Credit to Focus Taiwan.