A town in Gunma Prefecture will kick off trials for an autonomous amphibious tour bus this winter as part of a project to foster tourism and facilitate the transport of goods between islands.

The trial will be the first of its type in the world, according to the town of Naganohara. The amphibious bus began manned operations last month around Yamba Dam, a long-delayed project that was finally completed in March.

The project team involving the Saitama Institute of Technology and other organizations plans to conduct research and development on the vehicle for two years, with an eye to putting it into practical use in five years, the private university said.