On weekends, I like to visit Jian Guo Weekend Flower Market near my home. When I saw people struggling to go to the parking lot with a flowerpot, or when they were standing under the burning sun trying to wave down a ride, I was always thinking: Is there a more convenient way?
🚦 This is not news; there are many cars and motorcycles in Taiwan. According to Environmental Protection Administration’s statistics, there are more than 13 million motorcycles in Taiwan, with an average of 380 per square kilometer, ranking number one in Asia. There are nearly 8 million cars as well.
💡 Taiwan is crowded with cars, which has a significant impact on the air quality and road traffic safety in the city. How can we improve the situation? Autonomous vehicles are a possible solution.
🚲 Before I joined the cabinet in 2016, I discussed the development of unmanned vehicles with friends from MIT Media Lab in Paris. After joining the cabinet, I also suggested that they use the Social Innovation Lab as a venue for hackathon, so that the “Smart Tricycle” could interact with the general public.
🚸 What is special about the “Smart Tricycle”? Through open source and open data, it enables Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Collective Intelligence (CI) to strengthen each other and explore new ways of interaction together.
🛣 At present, many people still have doubts about unmanned vehicles. In my opinion, they are just like new species. Now when we are on the road, we estimate other vehicles’ intentions based on their signals and the way they drive. Autonomous vehicles can receive nearby signals through the Internet of Vehicles, allowing them to use the road more intelligently. Vehicle sensors can also collect nearby traffic information. Not only can you learn the traffic information on your own, it can also help the city understand you better.
🐎 Human beings will inevitably encounter challenges when learning to coexist with such new species. The most important thing at this stage is to set up an experiment site, allowing unmanned vehicles to simulate the actual situation freely inside the site. I used to visit the GoMentum experiment site in California. When I was looking at the unmanned vehicles in the venue, it felt like I was surrounded by animals, and they could interact with people to find out the possibility of future operations.
🏙 Therefore, I look forward to the completion of the construction of Tainan Shalun Smart Green Energy Science City, which has already started. In the 2.2-hectare Tainan Shalun Smart Green Energy Science City, in addition to a special test field, there would be a control center from which the action of the vehicles could be observed. Imagine: When you entered Shalun Smart Green Energy Science City, the cars that were passing by you, or even the car you got on at the entrance were all unmanned vehicles, and the entire Science City could become an experiment site for vehicles.
From carriages to cars, every evolution of transportation has reshaped our society. By the time that Artificial Intelligence became a part of the city, our daily life would change. For example, after visiting Jian Guo Weekend Flower Market, when you pressed a button, the “Smart Tricycle” would help take the flowerpot home. I look forward to this day.