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Taiwan opens first testing facility for self-driving vehicles

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Taiwan's first self-contained testing facility for self-driving vehicles had its grand opening on Monday. Located in Tainan City's Shalun District, the Taiwan CAR Lab hosts a unique testing environment closely modeled on actual traffic and street conditions characteristic of Southeast Asia.

The Executive Yuan's Office of Science and Technology (OST) anticipates that manufacturers of driverless vehicles will begin applying in June to conduct testing in open and partly open environments in accordance with the law governing innovative experimentation with self-driving vehicles. Plans for the deployment of self-driving buses will also be completed, with actual operations on specified routes to start next year. This first step will give the public an opportunity to experience the safety and convenience of smart transportation.

As experimentation at the Taiwan CAR Lab proceeds, the responsible government agencies will continue to assist the academic, research and industrial communities in developing a complete range of testing functions. Manufacturers of self-driving vehicles will also receive help with adopting international norms, enabling homegrown enterprises to easily link into the global chain of industries supplying driverless vehicle systems and subsystems. These advances will allow Taiwan's distinctive producers to reach new highs as exporters of technology.

The future development of self-driving vehicles in Taiwan will begin with driverless buses, according to the OST, before gradually extending to include aerial drones and self-piloting watercraft. Driverless vehicles will also play a role in regional revitalization, with cooperation at the local level to tailor operating models and services to the unique circumstances of individual locales. Examples of this include self-driving vehicles and drones for the transportation of goods to remote areas, and self-piloting boats for tourism at ports and harbors.

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