TOKYO BASED Robot Taxi Inc wants local residents to volunteer for an experimental driverless vehicle scheme which is set to be launched on the streets of the capital early next year.
The project will take place in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Fujisawa, a National Strategic Special Zone, and the company wants 50 people to sign up to use and trial the service.
Robot Taxi plans to put driverless cabs on the roads of Tokyo and then the rest of Japan and says that residents will be able to take an android vehicle to and from a supermarket which is 3km away from the test zone. An attendant will sit in the driver’s seat at all times for safety reasons.
Kanagawa Prefecture Government spokesman Yuji Kuroiwa said:
We have conducted experiments with automated cars on expressways before but this will be the first time to use local roads and residents. The robot taxi experiment will be conducted on actual city streets and I think that is quite amazing
Robot Taxi president Hiroshi Nakajima said: “This is probably the first test worldwide of an automated car that offers actual residents a chance to go shopping. We are also conducting a separate experiment on how robot vehicles can be used in the event of natural disasters.”