The Japanese government and the company Robot Taxis Inc. announce that beginning next year, they will begin testing self-driving taxis on the roads in the area Kanagawa, south of Tokyo.
The test will involve 50 people and will last for a limited time. The taxis will drive the test persons between their homes and the grocery stores within the area.
Robot Taxi Inc.
Robot Taxi is a joint venture between mobile Internet company DeNA Co. and vehicle technology developer ZMP Inc. And is aiming to commercialize its driver-less taxis by 2020.
Shinjiro Koizumi, son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and a vice minister in the current government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, appeared at an event Thursday afternoon to promote the driverless taxi effort. “There are a lot of people who say it’s impossible, but I think this will happen faster than people expect,” he said.
The project is a part of the government’s effort to promote innovation and startup businesses.
Other companies are testing the technology, most notably Google, Apple and the car makers are joining the tech giants in their strive for driver-less cars.
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said; “It would seem like there will be a massive change in that industry, massive change,” “When I look at the automobile, what I see is that software becomes an increasingly important part of the car of the future. You see that autonomous driving becomes much more important.”
General Motors will start to test driverless cars in Detroit late 2016. Ford has opened a research center in Silicon Valley.
Autonomous driving and assisted driving is most certainly going to change the traditional nature of car making.
With Robot Taxi, Japan Firms Eye Driverless Transport
Robot Taxi Inc