While mature infrastructures, stable system technologies, sound supervision regulations and public acceptability are required to support the development of driverless vehicles, such vehicles for public transportation will work in three main scenarios: grid network in smart city, smart tourism in theme parks, and shuttle services in remote areas, according to Ting Yen-yun, president of 7Starlake, a Taiwan startup dedicated to developing smart ride-sharing shuttle buses.
Ting said that public transportation highly relies on the support of good road networks, and only after the network coverage reaches a certain scale can efficient transportation be achieved. He continued that autonomous-driving minibuses can be applied to build virtual road networks and sharply reduce the lead time and cost for public transportation.
In terms of smart tourism application, Ting noted, the mini buses used in amusement parks must boast smart mobility, digital experience and ride-sharing functions, with AR (augmented reality) technologies applicable to mark the locations of scenic spots and introduce the natural landscapes and attractions.
Driverless vehicles can also be applied for flexible shuttle services in remote areas, where maintaining a fixed transportation route usually involves unaffordable costs. Automated-driving minibuses can also help bring medical services to remote countryside, Ting continued.