A multiday test involving three self-driving vehicles on public roads will kick off Friday in Tokyo, the IT firm and school behind the experiment said Thursday.
NTT Data Corp. is teaming up with Gunma University to conduct the test in Tokyo’s Toyosu district on Friday and next Wednesday and Thursday, with residents of a local condominium taking part.
The test is in line with Tokyo-based internet technology giant’s plan to launch such public transportation services as self-driving buses and ride-hailing by 2020.
Three self-driving vehicles developed by Gunma University will be used in the experiment. They will provide rides for the condo residents when requested online.
The minivans — equipped with cameras and laser sensors to monitor their surroundings — will cover six routes or a distance of 6 km and connect the condo with Toyosu Station and the LaLaport shopping mall.
The vehicles will run at maximum speed of 25 kph for the test and have human monitors in the driver’s seats, though they won’t touch the steering wheel unless needed, NTT Data said.
A communication robot will ride along to chat with the passengers.
The two signed a partnership agreement last year and plan to start deploying their fully autonomous driving technology in 2020.