National

Japan will let up to 100 self-driving cars roam freely ahead of Olympics

Bloomberg

For seven days next July, just before the Summer Olympics begin, Tokyo will let dozens of self-driving vehicles roam freely around the competition venues in the city’s waterfront area to promote the nascent technology.

As many as 100 self-driving cars will ferry up to 7,000 passengers in the week starting July 6, said Seigo Kuzumaki, director for the government’s autonomous-vehicle program. Carmakers including Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., as well as parts manufacturers and startups, are participating, he said.

What would be the largest autonomous-vehicle trial in Japan so far is meant to showcase the country’s strengths in the field. From next month through 2022, a slew of tests will be run on public roads in Tokyo, involving cars from 28 companies and institutions. The country has a goal for fully autonomous vehicles to go on sale in 2025.

Also during the games, more than a dozen Toyota robot vehicles will run a continuous loop within the Olympic and Paralympic Village to shuttle athletes and staff. Another self-driving Toyota vehicle, known as Concept-i and packed with artificial-intelligence technology, will accompany torch relay runners.

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