Fujisawa field tests start for Robot Taxi’s driverless cabs

JIJI

Japan’s Robot Taxi Inc. has started a field test for driverless taxis in Fujisawa in Kanagawa Prefecture.

In the test, 10 groups of participants will be transported between their homes and the Fujisawa outlet of major Japanese retailer Aeon Co.

The unit of mobile video game service operator DeNA Co. also plans to carry out a similar test in Sendai and Aichi Prefecture.

Robot Taxi aims to realize commercial operations of driverless taxis early, so they are used for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Hiroshi Nakajima, president and chief executive officer of Robot Taxi, told reporters at the Fujisawa outlet that his company hopes to launch its driverless taxi service in sparsely populated and mountainous areas where residents suffer from a lack of access to public transport.

Later, the service will be spread across the country, Nakajima also said.

Utilizing the government’s national strategic special zone in Fujisawa, the company will conduct the test during daytime on weekdays until March 11.

For the test, two vehicles equipped with cameras and sensors will be used.

During the test, the drivers will shift to automated driving on 2.4 km of public roads after confirming the safety.

The braking and steering systems will be controlled automatically by computers.