THAILAND: ELECTRIC RUNNING BAGS WILL BE POPULAR IN BANGKOK
Wheelbarrows are a popular vehicle in Thailand. You can easily picture it like a noisy, colorful tricycle taxi. Present throughout the countryside from the countryside to the city for centuries. Currently, there is a “makeover” to take this industry to a new level.
Starting in November, the state of Thailand will cooperate with private enterprises to put electric wheelbarrows to the test. This action is to push the country towards becoming Southeast Asia’s leading power in the development of automated transportation technology. Startups Airovr, investor Siri Ventures and the Thai government have been conducting experiments that lasted for months in a community in Bangkok. This project is expected to bring a lot of experience, a stepping stone to prepare for the application of other complex vehicles, such as small buses.
In Asia, most modern autos come from Chinese and Japanese companies. Such as: Baidu Inc., Pony.ai and Toyota Motor Corp. Japan spends billions of dollars on software development, partnership development and road infrastructure testing. In Southeast Asia, there is no leader in this area. Taking advantage of that opportunity, Thailand sees this as a way to strengthen and keep the development of the automotive industry – the unit that contributes 12% of the gross domestic product.
Mr. Ekkarut Viyanit – the principal researcher of Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency said: This program can build trust between the authorities and users. When applying these means to public transport, helping people have a more friendly look and easily accept this new type.
Amk Chumsai Na Ayudhya – Airovr’s founder – said: “ Buggies have been selected as test vehicles because tricycles are more energy efficient than cars, need fewer parts, are cheaper and more suitable for hot weather of the country.
However, this is not a tricycle with many common distracting motifs you see on the busy Bangkok streets and other tourist destinations in Thailand. Airovr’s car model has a minimalist design, with a display showing speed and power level.
On the roof of the car, there is a 3D map system with a shape similar to a police siren. Reviewers can control and view map information if needed.
Actual situation, it is not easy to apply this type of vehicle to the street at an early stage. The trial should in turn be carried out on a community of 10,000 city dwellers.
Although it is just a test, it does not mean that the road segment that will be taken seriously will be “idealized”. The test area covers approximately 8 hectares, including eight apartment towers, a commercial center, a dental hospital and a school. Cars, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians are crowded in the streets.
According to Mr. Jirapat Janjerdsak, chief technology officer of Siri Ventures: “On the go, the electric shutterhead allows to collect a large amount of raw data from reality. After thousands of trips, we can analyze all feedback. From there, apply improvement and expand the project with larger facilities. ”
The experiment can take up to 6 months. Developers will conduct data analysis. This action is aimed at replicating the program, and introducing the next automated means of transport: a 15-seat minibus – Ekkarut called Shuttle Shuttlepods. This vehicle will be manufactured by the government and a local automobile manufacturer.
These vehicles may be ready by early 2021.
Visualizing the end result, you might think of the unmanned space shuttle operating on the Naval Yard in New York, Brooklyn. Where 4-seater vehicles travel between the new entrance and ferry terminal.
In Detroit, startup company Mobility Inc. run a fleet of six-seater small vehicles, taking workers from the garage to their offices.
Thailand is now Southeast Asia’s leading car manufacturing center. Produced nearly 2.2 million vehicles last year and the government is trying to boost investment in electric cars, in line with the development direction of the global industry.
Thailand is also the first country in the region to offer incentives to electric vehicle manufacturers, reducing tariffs on vehicle sales.
Yossapong Laoonual – president of the Thai Electric Vehicle Association, said unmanned vehicles will be built on an electric-powered platform. And vice versa, and automation technology will increase the competitiveness of electric vehicles today.
With global sales of self-driving cars expected to reach 21 million by 2035, according to IHS Markit, Thailand could become the region’s manufacturing center.
To be fair, Thailand cannot have success today with just starting the zero. In fact, before the advent of electric cars, this country had the strength of the automobile industry, together many big companies.
However, an important point to help Thailand develop this type of transportation is thanks to favorable policies from the government. In Thailand, there are not many regulations on the use of self-driving cars on public roads.
KPMG is an index used to measure the feasibility of applying automatic transport in countries. On this KPMG scale, Thailand is not in the top 25, Singapore ranked second, Japan 10th, South Korea 13th and China 20th.
The National Development Authority of Thailand is working with at least 6 other offices, including the Ministry of Road Transport and the Ministry of Expressways. Together they work out a plan for the development of the road infrastructure here.
Under the most ideal conditions, Thailand will have electric cars automatically participate in public transport by 2024 – Mr. Ekkarut said. Advocates of this innovation from the early days are likely to become executives in future fleet of public vehicles.
GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd. – Thailand’s main technology car rental provider, plans to bring electric taxis to the market before 2022. The service may be launched in Singapore, where the company is headquartered.
There are about 1,000 automated cars being tested on roads around the world today, according to BloombergNEF. This figure could reach 27 million by 2040.
Sansiri’s goal is to develop automated public transport, operating on roads from residential areas to the nearest shopping center or station. The program can then be extended throughout Bangkok and other cities.
Right now, we start preparing for the future. Even the way we travel will change a lot. Hopefully, these efforts contribute a small part to making big dreams come true in Thailand.
Translation: Dai Phat Tin Electric Scooter