Ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the city has launched a world’s first driverless taxi service, made up of minivan equipped with sensors which allow it to navigate the bustling city’s busiest thoroughfare.
The RoboCar MiniVan self-driving taxi takes passengers through the heart of Tokyo, with the hope that a full-fleet of self-driving cabs will be operational in time for the forthcoming Olympics.
RoboCars will hopefully be happily ferrying around athletes and tourists across Tokyo across the summer of 2020, which should be a sight to behold!
The autonomous taxis have been developed by ZMP, in partnership with taxi company Hinomaru Kotsu, pipping the likes of Toyota and Uber to the post!
Uber’s has of course had its own bad run of luck recently, when one of its self-driving vans struck and killed a pedestrian in a trial in Arizona.
Nissan and tech firm DeNa have also been readying their Easy Ride robo-vehicle in tests in Yokohama earlier this year.
DeNa and ZMP have also conducted trials of a driverless taxi using Toyota’s Estima minivans, shuttling dozens of residents from their homes to the local shops in the town of Fujisawa, near Tokyo, in March 2016.
The latest experiment has captured the imagination of Tokyoites, with 1,500 people applying to be passengers during the 96 planned journeys in the trial.
A driver and an assistant are on board to take control of the vehicle in case of any mishaps, but early journeys have passed off without incident.
The firms next tests later this year will look at using the self-driving cabs to connect Haneda airport and the city centre.
Via The Guardian