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Honda Motor Co. has developed a next-generation, community-based transportation system that uses small hybrid and electric cars to reduce traffic and overall carbon dioxide emissions, officials said Thursday.

With the new Intelligent Community Vehicle System, commuters rent publicly owned automobiles to travel short distances over a limited area. Honda officials said that sharing small, environmentally friendly vehicles within a community will also help solve parking space shortages.

Honda will begin test-driving new vehicles for the ICVS at Twin Ring Motegi, its racing facility in Tochigi Prefecture, on Oct. 5. Two vehicles that will be tested for the system are the Step Deck, an ultra-small, single-passenger hybrid vehicle partly powered by a 49cc gasoline engine, and the City Pal, a two-passenger electric vehicle with a range of 130 km per charge.

The ICVS rental procedure involves three steps _ vehicle selection, vehicle return, and payment _ all to be managed by an IC card, Honda officials said. Returned vehicles would automatically park themselves at their ports through a magnetic system involving induction cables and ultrasonic sensors.

Honda is now negotiating with cities that may be interested in adopting the system.

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