DeNA Co. and Yamato Transport Co. announced Wednesday they plan to start trials on a delivery service that will utilize self-driving vehicles.
The two firms aim to start testing what they envision turning into an on-demand delivery service in March 2017 in special deregulated zones designated by the government. They have yet to decide on a location.
The distribution business will drastically change with the spread of self-driving vehicles, possibly creating more services, said DeNA CEO Isao Moriyasu.
For example, packages could be delivered at all hours of the day given eventually there will be no need for a driver, which would also save on labor costs, he said.
Under the current law, vehicles must have a person in the driver’s seat, so the two companies said drivers will accompany the vehicles for now.
Yamato Transport CEO Yutaka Nagao noted that customers’ needs for delivery services have become more diverse in recent years.
“We want to realize a world where customers can receive any products whenever and wherever they want,” said Nagao.
He said the self-driving technology might be the key to providing that service, which his company, the nation’s largest door-to-door delivery firm, hopes to determine the viability of through the trial runs.
DeNA, whose core business is making mobile video games, has been gearing itself up to enter the self-driving vehicle business. The Tokyo-based firm has already announced it plans to launch driverless taxi and bus services with partners.
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