Japan is pushing for 50 locations with driverless services in place within three years, but fully autonomous vehicles remain nearly nonexistent in the country.
So far, Fukui Prefecture is the only place with vehicles featuring level-4 capabilities — defined when they can handle all driving tasks — but only under specific conditions with the option for humans to take over. In the town of Eiheiji, the seven-seater golf carts are only allowed to navigate a 2 kilometer course. Maximum speed: 12 kilometers per hour.
The limited availability of autonomous driving in Japan stands in stark contrast to the U.S. and China, where robotaxis already roam the streets in some cities. Waymo, backed by Google parent Alphabet, and General Motor’s Cruise are testing driverless taxi services in San Francisco. Beijing has officially allowed robotaxi operators including Baidu to charge for fully autonomous taxis in some areas.