Autonomous Vehicle Trial
The first autonomous vehicle (AV) trial without an operator on board in Hong Kong commenced in late 2020 on the HKUST Clearwater Bay Campus. The AV, designed by Prof. Ming Liu (ECE, Director of HKUST’s Intelligent Autonomous Driving Centre) and his team of students, is one of the many innovative initiatives to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as the AV can make deliveries that limits human-to-human contact. Equipped with technologies such as all-terrain 3D mapping and large-scale visual and sensor navigation, the vehicle can plan its route after collecting data on the road and can detect on-road obstacles. After the launch of 50 units of Prof. Liu’s AVs in 4 cities in Mainland China such as Shenzhen and Shanghai, the AV, which is an electric vehicle, has finally arrived in Hong Kong. HKUST is proud to host the first AV trial in Hong Kong as it meets the goals for the “Sustainable Smart Campus as a Living Lab” initiative and exemplifies the groundbreaking innovation, technology and entrepreneurship abilities of HKUST faculty. The AV has successfully passed two stages of the trial and will eventually be used to deliver food and mail throughout the campus. The AV trial has received generous support from the Transport Department and the HKSAR Government.
The Arrival of Hercules (28 October 2020)
The Autonomous Vehicle (AV), named Hercules, arrived at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) on 28 October 2020 from Shenzhen, China. It is Hong Kong's first Level 4 AV. A Level 4 AV can drive itself with limited human intervention. HKUST would like to thank the Campus Management Office, Prof. Ming Liu's team, and the Office of Knowledge Transfer for the hugely successful delivery of Hercules.
Stage 0 testing - Zone A (21 November 2021)
The Stage 0 testing was held in a car park on the HKUST Clearwater Bay Campus. The purpose of the test is to check the basic functionalities of the Autonomous Vehicle such as stopping, starting, turning, going uphill and downhill. Representatives from the Hong Kong Transport Department witnessed the test where the AV successfully passed all the requirements and test items confirmed beforehand in the proposal. Subsequently, the University moved on to preparing for the Stage 0.5 testing.
Stage 0.5 Testing (Part I) (February 2021)
The Stage 0.5 test took place in February along the route from the LG7 parking spot to the roundabout at the university's South Gate. As the route was around 2km long, we broke the route into sections to ensure minimal disturbance to the public.
The project team compiled a list of items to test beforehand. The Hong Kong Transport Department witnessed the test. Some items needed subsequent testing, but we eventually passed all testing items to proceed to Stage 1.
Kaisa's Executives' Visit to HKUST (1 April 2021)
We are proud that we showcased the Autonomous Vehicle (AV) to the Chairman of the Kaisa Group, Mr Kwok Ying Shing, and other high-ranking representatives from the Kaisa Group. The event was held in conjunction with the RC Car Racing event organized by the university's Entrepreneurship Centre. During the visit, Prof. Tim Cheng, Dean of the School of Engineering, presented the 5 seed projects that, when completed, will advance the abilities of the AV. These projects are some of the many projects in HKUST that are generously funded by the Kaisa Group.
Exhibition at Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (8 July 2021)
The Autonomous Vehicle, Hercules, was exhibited at the Hong Kong Science Park during the World AI Conference 2021. During the conference, the founding President of HKUST(GZ), Lionel Ni, spoke at the event and signed an MOU on behalf of HKUST to join The Global Artificial Intelligence Academic Alliance (GAIAA).
Chief Executive Carrie Lam's Visit to HKUST (6 August 2021)
On 6 August 2021, Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, visited the HKUST Clearwater Bay campus where various departments showcased their unique achievements in research & development, among which was the Autonomous Vehicle (AV). Prof. Andrew Poon, Head of the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, gave a detailed explanation on the AV and that it will be used to deliver meals to university members quarantining in the University's Conference Lodge. In 2020, Ms Lam wrote a letter supporting the AV endeavors, in HKUST. The university is proud to be able to present the AV to Ms Lam and let her see the progress we have made.
Visit by MTR and Airport Authority (6 September 2021)
Representatives from the MTR Corporation Limited and the Airport Authority Hong Kong came to HKUST's Clear Water Bay campus and met with representatives from the University's Cheng Kar-Shun Robotics Institute, including Prof. Michael Wang, Prof. Lujia Wang, Prof. Ming Liu, and his students. The meeting attendees discussed possible collaboration between university faculty and the MTR and Airport Authority. There was a lot of discussion on the Autonomous Vehicle (AV) designed by Prof. Ming Liu. The AV was presented to the guests together with a robot dog that will, in the future, be used as a last-mile delivery in conjunction with the AV to deliver goods around the university campus.
Visit from ASEAN Counsuls (20 September 2021)
We are honored to have the counsuls and consul generals of the Hong Kong consulates of the 10 ASEAN countries visit the HKUST Clearwater Bay campus. They were welcomed to the campus by the President of the University, Prof. Wei Shyy, to encourage students from ASEAN countries to study in HKUST. At the end of the guests' tour, the Autonomous Vehicle's (AV) project team gave a demo of the AV to the guests. The guests were ecstatic when Prof. Lujia Wang mentioned that the same AV is also in Thammasat University, which happens to be the alma mater of the Consul General of Thailand.
Hercules' 1st Birthday Party (28 October 2021)
On 28 October 2021, exactly 1 year after the AV Hercules arrived to HKUST's Clearwater Bay campus, we celebrated the 1st birthday of the AV. It was a very exciting milestone. The president of the University, Prof. Wei Shyy, the Dean of Engineering, Prof. Tim Cheng, and the Associate Vice-President for Research and Development, Prof. Che Ting Chan, as well as many other esteemed guests attended and gave their support and thanks to all the extremely hardworking and dedicated team behind the AV trial. There was a fantastic turnout of people coming to celebrate the event and we hope to keep the momentum going onto the next year.
Stage 0.5 Testing (Part II) (October 2021)
Because of the road alignment works near South Gate of the campus that affects the original route going from LG7 to the South Gate, we used Stage 0.5 (part II) to test a new route. The new route goes through the Sundial roundabout - one of the busiest roads on campus. Hence, the Transport Department of Hong Kong (TD) required us to complete 8 tests to ensure the safety of the trial. After visiting the campus twice to witness the tests, TD approved the license to let Hercules run in autonomous mode at a speed of 10 km/h on both the old route and the new route.